Day 73

29th December 2001

Today was some of the finest weather in all of December, but that says more about the weather in December than today. As I write the weather is getting worse again. It seems almost every night we go through a low pressure which whips up 40-knot winds and battering waves.

I’ve discovered a direct link between tiredness and mood. Yesterday I was tired as we had a rough night and couldn’t get much sleep at all; the noise in bad weather is incredible, the wind howls like it does in films and the spray against the walls and portholes sounds like gravel on a tin roof. All the furniture creaks and groans with the strain of shifting weight and anything that isn’t firmly lashed down or wedged somewhere is thrown about. It sounds like a class of children banging sticks against the walls floor and ceiling and even inside the cupboards. At four in the morning I got out of bed muttering my full vocabulary of Portuguese swear words and began packing the cupboards with towels and the bookshelf with socks in an attempt to deaden the sound and stop things sliding around. Some of the noise was coming from the next cabin so I had to put up with it. Anyway all that led to a grumpy, miserable, incapable of speech Ross, and the day passed slowly.

In contrast I slept very well last night and I am altogether a more cheerful Ross. The day has passed more quickly and the remaining days seem fewer than the lifetime that they seemed yesterday.

We have nearly finished in the south, and today we began to work our way north. We aren’t going straight there but doing some trawls along the way. This is good news for me as it means we will be seeing some new species as we move into different fishing grounds, and the probability of seeing whales on more or less every haul since they are far more abundant up in the north (or so I’m told).

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