No rendezvous with the JUNK today. Several times today we have checked in with each other by satphone to compare positions, and they are slowly but surely gaining on me. Maybe tomorrow.

So, in the meantime, back to the guided tour of the Brocade and her cabins. Today, the fore cabin – and another one of my dodgy drawings. Hey, I’m a rower, not a Picasso.

This cabin is deep and pointy and not very high, so it’s a bit of a limbo dance to get in there. So I use it mostly for things I don’t need very often, or if I do use them often, they are stowed near the hatch so I can reach them without having to go inside.

Starting from the top right in the drawing..

1. The MarineTrack beacon, mounted on the bulkhead. This, in theory, should send back my position at regular intervals. Last year it worked a treat, and enabled us to locate and retrieve the Brocade a week after my unfortunate airlift by a US Coast Guard helicopter. Without the tracking beacon it would have been impossible to find my tiny boat on the huge Pacific. But this year it hasn’t been working quite so well, particularly since I turned westwards. This is a problem with the orientation rather than the unit itself, which is NOT at fault – and the MarineTrack mapping software that you see on this site is still super-cool!

2. Spare buckets

3. Two Daren drums containing my stash of dehydrated buckwheat and flax crackers. Daren drums are often used by kayakers and cavers to keep gear dry – I got them from a caving supplier in the UK, and they’re ideal to stop the crackers from getting crushed.

4. Toolkit. I’ve also got a load of tools in the aft (sleeping) cabin.

5. Another bucket, containing spare rowing shoes, spare seat, etc.

6. Bucket containing SeaCook propane stove when not in use.

7. Pelican case (very sturdy and very waterproof) containing technology spares – spare rechargers, startup disk, cables, etc.

8. Spare sea anchors, drogues, and waterproof bags containing a few clothes in case I get to Hawaii before my mother arrives with my suitcase! My ocean-going clothes are not going to be very presentable by then. In fact, they’re not now. Grubby, salty, rust-stained – it’s a tough life for everything out here; clothes, electronics, and humans alike.

9. Hatch to large locker beneath deck level containing one marine battery (to which the MarineTrack unit is connected, powered by solar panels on the fore cabin roof) and half of the water ballast, contained in 4 x 10 litre Dromedary bags. The other 4 bags are under the aft cabin.

This fore cabin is only about half full. If I was planning a really long voyage – like if I’d decided to do the Pacific in one fell swoop from Peru to Australia – I could fit a LOT more stuff in there. We could install hatches to allow access to the remainder of the under-deck areas, and also stow plenty more food above deck level – although it would have to be carefully organized so the first things to be used were nearest the hatch.

Oh, and one other thing I have in the fore cabin. my fishing rod, generously given to me by Mike Dale. So far not used due to various reasons – no water to spare for cooking fish, no time to spare for filleting fish, a residual squeamishness about having to cosh the fish on the head, and a concern that, like Erden Eruc on his Pacific row last year, I might inadvertently catch a fish that proves to be inedible, and suffer the consequent guilt pangs for having taken a life needlessly.

But no doubt, if I miss Hawaii and run out of prepackaged foods, all these reasons would dwindle into insignificance if it was a matter of survival. but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that. I’d hate to miss the Hawaii party!

Other stuff:

Position at 2145 10th August Pacific Time, 0445 11th August UTC: 23 02.943’N, 146 06.852’W.

Again, a real mixed bag of weather today. After each squall there is a period of spooky calm, when the ocean seems hushed and subdued, before it recovers its spirits and the wind starts to blow again. Between rainclouds the tropical sun has been intense. Definitely getting further south!

A quick roundup of messages – hi to Jacquie Barone and gang – great to hear from you (but no babies for me, thank you!), Jim, Gene, Erin, Louise, John, Sandi (loved the UK analogy for my remaining miles! I’ve got a good friend in Exeter..)

Click here to view Day 78 of the Atlantic Crossing 16 February 2006: The Big Wuss Principle.

American Express members’ project is giving away 2.5 million dollars to 5 causes. Please vote for Roz – guest members can do so.

We are trying to raise funds to pay for 3 documentary films about my solo crossing of the Pacific. I have been nominated for the American Express project – sharing 2.5 million dollars between the top 5 causes.

Please read and act on the following links: http://www.membersproject.com/about/
Also, the following is a link to Roz’s Project. http://www.membersproject.com/project/view/GUMBK6 where you are allowed to vote as a guest member if you are not a member of AMEX.
The closing date is September 1st. Please help. Thanks, Rita.

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