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Deeper Dives and Higher Climbs

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

The day starts with news of another song bird flying between the different riggings. Not wanting to approach and frighten it – we stay back – and you can only just see the little yellow bird in my wide angle and zoomed in shots below ……….. but look at the amazing shot above, which Rhodri got by lying on his tummy quietly. What a talented photographer and how lucky is the expedition to have him and Tom on board to record the Darwin 200 adventures.

Approaching madeira – with the engine on – watches are abandoned and the deck becomes a classroom for us all to learn how to use a sextant. It sounds very complicated until you actually get to use it and can make adjustments to pop the sun down on the horizon and make the readings which will tell us latitude. It was such a thrill to be using similar equipment to that used by Captain Robert Fitzroy on the Beagle. It seems that the sextant was so crucial that Fitzroy took 12 for his trip which was, after all, designed to survey Tierra del Fuego and the South American coast.

Scrubbing the deck is not something we are conscripted to do as volunteers – just had to wash off the chalk calculations relating to the sextant lesson :)

Later in the afternoon, we also take the chance to climb the rigging. Here's a photo of the schooner mast and a little movie of me going up – thanks to Tom from the expedition film crew. It doesn’t feel at all scarey on the climb, especially if you step up as the swell is away from you. But I wish I was about 6 inches taller because the last little hike up onto the platform was a bit tricky!

When you are there, though, it’s a very special experience. There is nothing but blue water out to the horizon in all directions - and the horizon is broader and further away than when you are on the deck. The view is very different and you can see why, if anyone should fall overboard, the first thing you would do is send someone up the rigging to spot them – and keep a clear view as the boat turns to pick them up. You feel a rush of exhileration when you make it to the top and then have to pay special attention on the way down because you are feeling so carefree and confident that you might step carelessly ....

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