DAY 08 – The Goat Horn

I got up this morning to find a flying fish lying on deck after a misplaced escape response.  Pete, the 1st officer later declared in his deep Kiwi accent “if these can fly why can’t we?”.  He had a point.

 

We are at a point now where we are simply heading for the New Caledonian capital Noumea.  It is unfortunate to have to stop now that we are in the swing of things, but we need customs clearance to work in French waters and we have sustained a lot of damage from the storm.

 

Our first job is therefore to find more liquid nitrogen and someone who can repair a -80 freezer.  Not a trivial matter, so we’ll see how we get on, we only have 24 hours.

 

Other than that, not much to report except that we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn at around 1730, although we never felt so much as a bump.

 

But what is the Tropic of Capricorn?

 

It appears that it is one of the five major circles of latitude that the Earth’s map. It currently sits at a latitude of 23° 26′ 14.908″ south of the Equator, but it is very gradually moving northward by15 meters, per year. It is so named because when the Sun reaches the zenith at this latitude, it is entering the tropical sign of Capricorn. It was named, about 2000 years ago, when the sun was also in the direction of the constellation Capricornus (capricorn is Latin for goat horn).

 

Incidentally, the word ‘tropic’ itself comes from the Greek tropos, meaning turn, referring to the fact that the sun appears to “turn back” at the solstices.

 

I robbed the above explanation off of Wiki, and to be honest I still don’t really see the significance, but it is a line that was crossed which means we are one step closer to our goal – the New Hebrides Trench.

 

Alan – 12th November.

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