Tuesday 26 August 2014

Depuch and the Theory of Evolution

Depuch Island, morning after arrival

The winds continued their predictable pattern. SE’lies in the morning, when Ashiki can make good Easting. Followed by a period of on the nose Easterlies when we tack up and down hopelessly, and finishing with NE’lies where Ashiki can finally make her destination. At least the speed is good. Windward speed Ashiki depends on the sea state. A strong wind in the open sea always means waves, but for some reason do not go quite the same direction as the wind, which means theres a bad tack and good tack. The good tack is along the waves where Ashiki does 4 to 5 knots in a good blow. Unfortunately the “Bad” tack is usually the direction of our destination, where she consistently manages around 3 to 3.5 knots average. Light winds would be slower, but the seas are smoother, so the speed is still 3 to 3.5 knots. It seems to be her base windward figure. In the storm coming out of the Montebello’s going hard upwind she averaged 3.1 knots, she could have gone quicker, but that would have driven her too hard.

Really, the whole windward equation comes down to the hull, not the rig. Hard on the wind for us means, 45˚ off the wind on the compass or 50˚ on the GPS.

Sailing 40 miles to cover 27 miles as the crow flies, we dropped anchor off Depuch Island in the dark.

Depuch is a significant place, in 1840 maybe the most important sailing vessel in history, the HMS Beagle, visited the island.

The ship which carried a young Charles Darwin around the world from which he formulated his Theory of Evolution. This must have filled in a lot of gaps for a lot of people (and vehement denial by others), that life controls its own destiny, it’s own form. The captain of the Beagle discovered a treasury of aboriginal art on Depuch and they left their own graffiti, which we wanted to see.

Ashore on Depuch

Not sure where the repository is, we rounded the nearest rocky outcrop and there it was!

The early English may have repeatedly pointed out the "sorry state" of the indigenous inhabitants, but they could certainly draw!

Plenty of graffiti from visitors since too.

Climbing up that ravine and it's right there, near the edge, the Beagle. 
There are two Beagle graffitis here.

Depuch itself is a huge pile of loose stones, piled into a 180m high peak. These stones, all iron ore are small enough and ready for export, no need to send them through a primary crusher then a secondary crusher as the mining companies do. Could load a couple ton of the boulders in Ashiki’s bilges and set sail for China. Get $200 for them… hmmm. Makes for hairy climbing, they move when stepped on. Be careful not to dislodge one at the bottom, might collapse the whole joint..

The art depository cairn

Message to all future graffiti'sts, please include century. This guy be either 2008 or 1908...

A pile of loose bolders, this island is..

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