Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Noon Position: 42 16' S, 158 35' W, SOG 5.3, COG 070, Day's Run 115nm.
Our position has moved onto a new chart, officially called "South
Pacific Ocean - Sheet II," but which I prefer to think of as bearing the
more grandiloquent title "The Vast Uncharted Wasted of the South
Pacific" Stretching from the Equator to 60S, and from 160W to 110W, the
top half of the chart is speckled with the island of French Polynesia,
but the south half is a void. A few lines of soundings run here and
there, from some survey ship unfortunate enough to be sent across the
waters, and there are a few specks reporting "breakers reported, 1978"
or "discolored water reported, 1947", but even these vanish south of
40S, leaving just a vast white emptiness crossed by lines of latitude
and longitude. In the far south of the Indian and the Atlantic there
were scattered islands and lots of depth soundings, but the far South
Pacific is a void. I can easily imagine bored sailors filling up the
space with doodles of sea monsters and storms, just to have something to
look at as the dots of position march along across the page.

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