Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Into the mist...

Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

The days are fairly quiet now, and I suspect will only get slower, hence the lack of a blog post for three or four days. They've also started to merge a bit in my mind, so I'm glad I'm keeping a diary and have these blogs to refer back to. Excuse me if I repeat myself.


In the past few days I got the sad news about Niall Iain of NY2SY having to be rescued due to a back injury. Such a shame after all his hard work and planning. We've been in contact in the run up to our respective departures and have been planning our expeditions concurrently, with set backs and funding issues at similar times. We even met as finalists in the Kukri Adventure Scholarship last year, and NI leant me a couple of solar panels for Rockall Solo, which came of his boat before her refit. I'm glad he's safe, but disappointed for him, and I hope that his boat gets picked up and returned to him soon.


There's been a few mile stones over the past few days: I finished my first water carrier yesterday, which thankfully means I've more room inside the pod now, which definitely improved sleeping last night, and today I finished my first Calor gas canister, which is not bad as I've had at least two boils a day for twelve and a bit days from it.


Yesterday there was a low fog, which restricted my visibility to around 50 metres in all directions for most of the day. It was good to have a change of 'scenery', not being able to see so far, and with the sea being calmer, these subtle alterations in what I can see answers the question of whether I would get bored with looking at the sea all day – no. Whether it was because the sea was calmer, and therefore more predictable, the minke whale can very close to the rock, within thirty metres, into shallower water, so I got a much better look at him.


Today, the sea has been the calmest yet, with barely a ripple on the surface and a very slight swell. I think, as a result, one of the trawlers PD120 'Harvest Hope' came much closer than normal. We watched each other in the binoculars for a while and even traded a wave. I didn't try and raise them on the VHF as I don't want too much human contact yet for fear of starting to crave it, so will save the 'treat' of talking to the nearby boats until I need to.


This morning I was out and about on the rock measuring the height of the south facing cliff above my ledge, and noting details of the old light housing. I decided to do this today as there was no wind, which meant the turbine had stopped again, making the prospect of venturing onto the summit much safer. Members of the Greenpeace team who fitted the beacon have asked me to take some specific photographs of it in the hope that they can work out where their design failed. In the afternoon, I measured the metal frame attached to the south face, which I assume used to hold a solar panel associated with the light beacon as there is a groove carved into the rock leading from it up to the beacon, before the wind picked up and it became colder so I retreated to the RockPod and continued with some reading.


In birding news, both the pigeons have definitely gone now, however the brown one was tracked down to an owner in Northern Ireland. The first puffin landed today, I managed to get a couple of good shots, and a new mystery bird has arrived: I just caught a flash out of the corner of my eye, but its small (sparrow or wren sized) and dark. More details will follow if I get a proper look at it. I think there's a wren which is endemic to St. Kilda, but can't imagine it is this far out, particularly as the wind has been low and in the wrong direction for the past few days.


PS: the photo is taken standing on the RockPod looking over the edge of Hall's Ledge.

Nick Hancock FRGS

Twitter: @RockallNick #RockallSolo
Sponsor Nick in aid of Help for Heroes at www.justgiving.com/rockallsolo

Please forward all Press and Media enquiries regarding the expedition to Iain MacIver
Tel: 0845 860 2411
Email: rockall2014@promessage.com


Leigh Forbes said...

Loving these posts! I feel like I'm there (which I would love to be). Thank you :o)

Paul said...

Hi Nick, I haven't had chance to go through all your other posts yet so maybe you've answered this elsewhere: Are you able to get any exercise? All the very best of luck for the rest of the adventure!

Anonymous said...

Hi again Nick

Great to see you and chat on the VHF the other day. Will e mail you some pics once we get home. We set off back heading for the Irish Republic, but the wind gradually backed and we ended up making landfall just north of Barra Head. Came throughthe Sound of Mingulay, and are now on the PCs in Barra public library. A great one reef sail closehauled all the way, with full sun on the last two days.

I'm now even more impressed by what you are doing. Even though we knew Rockall's dimensions and seen lots of photos in James Fisher's book (our bible for the trip - I'm sure you will have read it), it's not until you are there and see it, particularly with a human fugure to give scale, that you realize what a tiny piece of rock it is. All respect to you.

We will follow your progress now with great interest. All our best wishes for the remainder of your epic.

John and Janet Trythall. Jaywalker (Contessa 32)

Post a Comment