CROSSING the international dateline was a long time coming.
Then, in an instant, it happened.
The GPS went from 179, 59.999 W - to peak for a second at 180 E (or W?) - and my the long countdown to finish has begun. It was an emotional unreal moment. It took me back to the future. What was Sunday 28th, became Saturday 27th!
And sure what is time? It stretches in my mind from Albert Einstein's theory of relativity to my inability to understand the concept of infinity. Imagine ( Project Imagine? ) for ever and ever. Eternity, space and the universe unlimited. The 'holy grail' of mankind is to grasp and understand what it is.
I cannot grasp it. It defies logic, there is no logic to the logic. It is beyond imagination. To imagine what we cannot imagine? Is that not the abstract of God? (If not, I'm sure he'd have something to say about it)
And, as George W Bush would say ' An unknown, unknown ' ( as distinctfrom the 'known unknowns')
Anyway, its really great to be underway. Sailing around the Kiwi coast to Auckland and back South again was an ambitious 2,000 miles. However we did it. It was an adventure all of its own. The boat was proven and our shore side exchange with the Spirit of Adventure and Atlantic youth Trusts was a great success And separately the first ever Irish Pubs New Zealand Gathering was historic - while the Maori Blessing and send-off was symbolic and had a spirituality.
To represent Le Souffle du Nord and Kilcullen Team Ireland is an honour to finish both respective missions. Its also a big responsibility. When I look ahead to the enormity of the Pacific Ocean it does not feel real - but it is - in the humble context of time and relativity above, what is it.
Now I am all on my own. The first night it blew up to 30 knots and it was hard going. A massive adjustment and, the more I think about, the more anxious I have become over what lies ahead. Powering East and South its already cold and getting colder.
Covering over 400 miles in a day was good start. Or perhaps not since, it was 2 days! In fact it was approx 240 miles in the first 24 hours.
We have just passed between the Bounty Islands to the North and the Antipodes Islands to the South. The former seem like nothing more than a clump of rocks, the latter volcanic islands look interesting. The main island is an important UNSECO listed bird shelter about 20 k square. The highest point is Mount Galloway at 366 m
The island group was first charted in 1800 by Captain Henry Waterhouse. In 1803 Waterhouse's brother-in-law George Bass was granted a fishing monopoly for the area. Bass sailed from Sydney to the south that year and was never heard of again. However his information regarding the large population of fur-seals, led to a sealing boom in the islands in 1805 to 1807.
At one time eighty men were present; there was a battle between American and British-led gangs and a single cargo of more than 80,000 skins-one of the greatest ever shipped from Australasia-was on-sold in Canton for one pound sterling a skin, a multimillion-dollar return in modern terms. After 1807, sealing was occasional and cargoes small, no doubt because the animals had been all but exterminated.
A much later attempt to establish cattle on the islands was short-lived (as were the cattle). When the ship Spirit of the Dawn (with a crew of 16) foundered off the main island's coast in 1893, the eleven surviving crew spent nearly three months living as castaways on the island, living on raw muttonbirds, mussels and roots for 87 days before gaining the attention of the government steamer Hinemoa by a flag made from their sail The last wreck at the Antipodes was the yacht Totorore with the loss of two lives, Gerry Clark and Roger Sale, in June 1999. I guess they had no GPS!
And now leaving the Antipodes astern, sailing into the night of Saturday, (Sunday just a few miles behind) - as he wind gusts to 30 knots - I take from the words of Sean O'Casey, questioning what is the universe...
An' as it blowed an' blowed
I often look up into the the sky
An' asked myself the question.
What IS the Stars. What IS the Stars