TNS460 01/06/2016 (Blog by Aft Starboard)
Tuesday was a busy day for Aft Starboard’s climbers. In the morning Jo and
Georgina went aloft to overhaul the buntlines on the fore course, and in the
afternoon Graham and Graham climbed to the top of the mainmast.
Anne and Georgina gave an afternoon talk in the lower mess on the geological
history of the Pacific Islands we have visited. The voyage crew learnt
about the different ways the islands had formed; most are volcanic from
mid-ocean hotspots, but Tongatapu is made of uplifted coral.
We had the 8pm to midnight watch on Tuesday night. The stars were glorious
and with the help of a borrowed star finder app (thanks Ruth!) we found
Mars, Saturn and Jupiter. Cheryl found the constellation of Corona
Borealis, which looks like an upside down crown in these latitudes.
Northern starwatchers may be surprised to hear that we can see the Plough
this far south, although it is upside down.
Late in the watch, at about 11.10pm, several watch members spotted a
possible UFO on the starboard side. It was about 15 degrees up from the
horizon, flashed brightly about once a minutes, and moved from right to
left. We watched it for about 15 minutes, and it gradually got paler.
Steve’s theory is that it was a decaying satellite reflecting the Sun as it
tumbled slowly towards Earth. Other watch members prefer more
Wednesday morning was quiet (no happy hour or sail handling this morning)
but there was a special treat of ice cream for Smoko.
This afternoon’s watch included a meridian passage, when the Sun is at its
highest point in the sky and, if you know what time it is, you can use the
Sun to determine your latitude. Several watch members took the opportunity
to wield sextants, and watch leader Graham managed to measure our latitude
within 4 miles of our actual position.
We leave you sailing happily in blazing sunshine making 5.5 knots in a fresh
Aft Starboard watch (W/L Graham, Acting W/L Roly, Jo, Cheryl, Jean, Steve,
Anne, Graham, Georgina and Louise (on mess duty).