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Full Circle

Day 245: Bering Strait

Bering Strait 
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Almost Full Circle. On the Munro, a mile from Diomede. Recording a last message to the viewers.
Michael Palin - Full CircleSafe aboard the Munro. Have been given the cabin of an Ops Officer called Kelley. It's very small, there is a computer beside me and books on code, environmental fishing regulations and celestial calculations on a shelf at the end of the bunk. My clothes are spread out to dry over every available surface. I don't sleep much. Whatever happens, this will be the last day of a nine and a half-month journey. The day we close the circle.

It's August again, only this time round Alaskan August is not at all like anyone else's. The seas are high and the wind and rain rake the decks making it impossible to stay outside for long. I can see Little Diomede, but only as a black dot on a radar screen.

Throughout the morning we lie off the island waiting for a break in the weather to put us ashore. Last night's adventure was a clear warning of what we are up against so no one protests when, with the swell rising to 12 feet, winds blowing out of the south-west at 40 miles an hour and visibility down to a murky half-mile, Captain Gable abandons the attempt to land us on Diomede.

Besides ourselves he has one hundred and seventy crew on the ship, many of them itching to get back to California for their first leave in four or five months. As we criss-cross the International Date Line, tacking between the hemispheres one last time, I know how they feel and make no protest. I feel sad but not at all tearful. What the hell, after 50,000 of travel we are one mile out. As the Buddhists would say, only God is perfect.
Bering Strait 
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Back in the Bering Strait. Not as welcoming this time.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 245
  • Country/sea: USA
  • Place: Wales - Alaska
  • Book page no: 320

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