Alex’s Photo Picks from the Last Two Years

As you are probably aware Sarah and I have been in Thailand for the last 6 weeks or so, bar a one-week side-trip to Cambodia for the sake of getting our Thai visas renewed inexpensively. It’s been wonderful spending time with Sarah’s parents and exploring places by land. There have also been moments of nostalgia. I’ve spent this morning looking through our photographs for the last two years and there are a few that really stand out for one reason or another, so I thought I’d share them with you here. Many of them you will have seen before but there are a few that we either didn’t have (because they were taken by someone else and we only acquired them later on) or which didn’t fit in with the subject matter of whatever blog post we were writing at the time.

We’ve had so many incredible experiences that it was hard to cut down my selection (it’s probably still a little long- sorry about that). There are also one or two that I would have liked to have included here – some videos from the first passage from Bermuda to St. Maarten – but which I don’t have access to at the moment because they are on an ipod that I left in New Zealand. I will post these later; they give some insight into my mental state during that passage and why I don’t think I’m well-suited to single-handed sailing.

So, without further ado, in chronological order:



Leaving the Las Perlas Islands on the way to Galapagos we caught our first fish of the voyage! Unfortunately, something else got there before I could pull it in…………….



This view was a welcome one –  making landfall at Pitcairn Island after three weeks at sea. At the time we assumed that this view heralded an opportunity for a rest. Little did we know we’d soon be trundling off to Mangareva at full tilt on an emergency medical evacuation!



Pitcairn’s reputation for less-than-ideal anchorage conditions is not ill-deserved. We woke up one morning during our second visit to the island and were excited to see another yacht in the vicinity. AIS identified them as S/V Maya. We hailed them on the radio but for some reason they seemed reluctant to stop by for a visit, so they sailed on without anchoring. These pictures of Bob taken by Asma give some inkling as to why they may have decided on that course of action, and why they sounded so baffled on the radio when we told them that we were comfortably re-anchored at Bounty Bay. We have since become very good friends with Herbert and Asma and have laughed merrily over our first encounter with one another. Apparently Asma turned to Herbert and said “I’m sure they were very nice people but now they must be dead, so we’ll never know!”

You can just see Bob’s mast beyond the breaking wave 🙂


And here we are nonchalantly raising the anchor:

OK, that was a lie. It wasn’t nonchalant at all. I couldn’t actually stand on the foredeck so I had to do everything braced against the pulpit railing and supported on one knee. Despite my best efforts to control things, the windlass and bow roller came under tremendous load as the anchor was torn from the sand by the rise of a particularly large swell. There are other pictures of the situation above where you can only see the boom and the tops of our heads, but I like this one because you can at least see that there is a boat in there somewhere!



Now we move on to the Gambier Islands. Below is the stunning view from the peak of Mount Duff. You can see the capital town of Rikitea in the bottom left. The tiny strip of land in the upper right of the photograph is the airport island. The Gambier Islands were truly spectacular. Sarah and I have already discussed that if we were to do a similar trip again we would prefer to sail direct to Marquesas from the Galapagos Islands and then head South to spend the bulk of the cyclone season here in the Gambiers instead of the other way around.




Provisioning in the Gambier Islands was sparse. Being Bermudian, I have a physiological NEED for mayonnaise. So, we decided to try to make it. Below is one of the earlier attempts. Since it wasn’t working by hand-power alone I decided to try an electric whisk………. which we don’t have. So, we improvised!

Note the not-remotely-mayonnaisish gloop in the jar in my left hand. I was not a happy bunny, as you may be able to tell. Fortunately, later attempts were much more successful.



A typical afternoon scene from the island of Taravai, where we ended up spending the majority of our time in the Gambiers. Complete with grumpy, sneaky horse who attempted to steal lunch, dinner, or rum whenever possible. The problem with being a horse is that one struggles to be inconspicuous, but Dior put in a good effort and was sometimes successful.




We spent a day clearing away the brush from beneath the coconut palms, and made several big fires to dispose of it:



Unfortunately the heat of the fires produced an unforeseen hazard – spider rain. It literally began raining spiders as they leapt from the trees to the ground. This one landed on Jesse, and Sarah somehow managed to convince him to remain motionless for long enough to snap this shot. He wasn’t taking his eyes off it though, and was poised for some quick action in the event that it should have decided to make a run for it upwards!



During a sail from Taravai to Rikitea to pick up some supplies, David from S/V El Nido got this shot of Bob. Sarah particularly likes it because if you zoom in on us in the cockpit you can see a lovely bit of impromptu romance 🙂



Finally for the Gambier Islands, a beautiful shot of Bob lying to a home-made mooring on the South Coast of Taravai, on a wonderfully calm evening.




We both love this shot, taken during a hike in Marquesas. We are on the island of Tahuata. In the distance is the big island of Hiva ‘Oa, and between the two runs the Ha’ava, or Bordelais Channel.



In Nuku Hiva Sarah took a few dance classes in the local style, and was honoured to be invited (well…… to be honest it was more of an instruction than an invitation!) to perform with the dance troupe in front of a crowd of a couple of hundred people. Here she is in her dance regalia.



Better yet, for the first time we are now able to offer you a video from one of the performances (yay for fast internet!). Along with some other cruisers and the troupe of local girls she performed two dances, of which this was the final section of the second. I apologise for the shoddy standard of the work on this one. The reason for it is that Sarah is dancing and I have been tasked with capturing the moment. The sound is particularly poor, because it seems I had my finger over the microphone for most of the performance.

Sarah has stipulated that I must make it clear to you here that she only had two days to learn both of the dances, and wishes it to be formally noted that she is opposed to the publishing of this movie in the first place. Ah well, win some lose some. For the greater good, here it is:



This spectacular waterfall is located on the island of Fatu Hiva. We were fortunate that it hadn’t rained for a little while when we visited. If it had we would not have been able to get anywhere near it. It was a beautifully refreshing swim after a hot hike.




Down to the Tuamotu Archipelago now, to the uninhabited atoll of Tahanea. Sarah snapped this beautiful shot of a yacht that was anchored astern of us as a small squall came through. I love the misty effect caused by the rain pelting down onto the surface of the sea, and the yawing and slight heeling of the boat as the first gust of wind hits.




The squalls soon passed, and we sailed across the lagoon accompanied by a pod of dolphins to a spot known as ‘7 reef’. It was probably the most spectacular spot that Bob has ever anchored. When this shot was taken we had nipped over to a motu about a mile from the anchorage to collect coconuts, and stopped off on this spit of sand for a snorkel. Bob is just out of frame to the right.



The diving at the South Pass of the atoll of Fakarava was the most spectacular we have done. The site is famous for having a particularly high density of sharks – a sign of a healthy reef ecosystem.



This shot of a friendly rooster in Rarotonga cracks me up every time. Doesn’t it look photo-shopped? I promise it’s not!



Leaving Niue we were a little nervous, as the rigging had just broken and been repaired for the second time. As we came out from behind the island we were greeted by a large black cloud. Fortunately we managed to outrun the worst of it and were treated to this beautiful backdrop:



A day of ‘racing’ with our friends Rick and Jasna aboard their boat ‘Calypso’. At the pre-race skipper’s meeting Rick warned the other skippers that anyone overhauling Calypso was liable to be mooned. One skipper complained and implied that his children would be psychologically damaged by such an experience. Rick responded that he was terribly sorry but he could not afford to be discriminatory and that for moral reasons he was obliged to treat everyone equally. Fortunately for the family with the delicately-dispositioned children they were out of range, but these guys, one of whom was our friend Asma, ended up in an unfortunate tacking battle with us and were subjected to the view not once, but several times. We were dubbed ‘Team Los Culos Blancos’ (why Spanish I have no idea – we were in Tonga!) and awarded a special prize at the prizegiving! Let’s face it though, we weren’t going to win prizes for anything else……….



At the ‘Coral Garden’ in Tonga we met this incredibly brazen anemonefish. Perhaps a male guarding the eggs, it had no qualms about challenging a creature many, many times it’s own size. I was not intimidated……….. but then I did swim away, so I’m pretty sure he’ll chalk that up as anemonefish 1, biguglyungainlything 0. Fair enough.



Also in Tonga: Sarah must have taken a hundred shots of the fruit bats trying to get a really good one. I think she managed it with this:



And finally! Videos can never do justice to actual, real-life experiences but I really like this one. It is a short video of a swim-through at a reef in South Minerva. We spent hours exploring these channels and caves. It was the best snorkelling either of us have ever done. Here’s a small taster of why:


Finally, just a quick note to say that we will (I promise!) do one or two blogs soon about our travels in Thailand and Cambodia. Until then, stay warm and enjoy yourselves!

Some visual impressions of Tonga

Tonga has been a lovely home for us over the last two and a half months but now it’s time to say goodbye. We’re heading even further south, first to another submerged atoll called Minerva Reef, then onto New Zealand. We’ll probably be at sea for at least two weeks but we’ll use the new blog feature to make posts during that time via the satellite phone. If you don’t hear from us in the next couple of weeks, it’s probably because that new feature isn’t working properly. But then again, it may be because the boat has sunk and we’re drifting around the Pacific in a bright orange floating bouncy castle.

They say “a picture tells a thousand words”. So before we go, I thought I’d leave you with some visual impressions of Tonga from the many photos I’ve taken over the past few months.

Vava’u Island Group

We spent over 2 months enjoying the Vava’u islands. They are a collection of one large island and many smaller ones in the northern part of Tonga. Polynesian legend explains that the islands were created by the god ‘Maui’ who used his magical hook to fish the islands from the depths of the ocean. The reality is just as cool – the islands are raised atolls formed through tectonic forces which have sculpted the Earth’s landscape to elevate land above sea level along the Tongan Trench.


The administrative capital of Vava’u is called Neiafu and it’s also the second largest town in the whole of Tonga. Here we were able to enjoy a number of shops, boutiques, bars, restaurants and a large produce market. There’s even a fine meats deli and of course we can’t forget about the infamous ‘Tropicana’ internet cafe, which provides a whole host of yacht services, but best of all is owned and run by Hugh Laurie.

It’s really him!….. Isn’t it?

Village life

A number of small rustic villages lie around the various islands of Vava’u, each with their own distinctive character. As with many of the islands throughout Polynesia, religion is taken very seriously and every community gathers for the Sunday morning church service.

Blue Water Festival

Each year various companies in New Zealand and local businesses in Tonga fund the ‘Blue Water Festival’. This amazing festival is all about having fun with fellow sailors, exploring the local cultures and learning about how to make a safe passage to New Zealand.

  1. The Race

We teamed up with fellow cruisers Rick and Jasna from s/v Calypso for the annual Blue Water Festival regatta in which we raced their beautiful, but rather heavy, 36-foot Hans Christian cutter. As expected, we weren’t very fast and despite being given a 2 minute head-start, most of the other boats overtook us rather quickly. Still, we had a very special tactic to discourage the other boats from overtaking us by attempting to blind them with the white glare from our… ehem… posteriors. We didn’t win the race, but we did win $100 worth of vouchers for the ‘most naked’ crew 🙂 You might not want to look too closely at the next photo. 

2. The School Show

Part of the local cultural experience was a trip to the local school to see a dance performance by the children. The costumes were as vibrant as the dancing and they even got the audience involved. It was great fun.

3. Kava

Also part of the local culture is an intoxicating drink made from the ground roots of the kava plant. The drink is supposed to have sedative, anesthetic, euphoriant and entheogenic properties but despite making kava at twice the recommended strength, we experienced nothing but a slightly numb tongue.  No amount of photo editing can make this drink look appetising and believe me, it tastes even worse than it looks.


The wildlife in Tonga is really impressive, particularly in Vava’u. The sprightly insular flying fox (aka fruit bat) is highly abundant in this part of the world and can often be seen languishing in the tree branches or flying overhead in the late afternoon.


Maninita is one of the islands in the south of Vava’u and is one of few places where the invasive Pacific rat has been completely eradicated. It’s now a haven for breeding sea birds. The abundance and diversity of species at this newly acclaimed bird reserve is really wonderful to see.

Mount Talau National Park

The highest point in Vava’u and the most spectacular views can be found at the top of Mount Talau. Alex and I took the short hike to reach the peak of the mountain – although I’m not sure that 669 feet can really be classed as a mountain! Still, we took great pleasure in walking through the rural villages, immersing ourselves in the tropical flora and fauna of the national park and enjoying the magnificent views of Neiafu from the summit of Mt Talau.


The diving here is spectacular. I’m recording more diversity on my fish surveys than ever before and I’m seeing soft corals and fan corals in reasonable numbers for the first time on this trip. The underwater caves here are magical. The colours created by the lighting in Mariners Cave and Swallows Cave are really stunning.


We made our way south to the Ha’apai island group in central Tonga where we spent about a week. It’s the quietest and least developed area of Tonga and is brimming with unspoilt coastline and diverse turquoise waters.

Happy Halloween in Tongatapu

Our final destination in Tonga is the island group known as Tongatapu, home to the main capital of Nukualofa. This is the most developed part of Tonga but although there are many shops here it is by no means a metropolis. The town centre is vibrant and busy, but there’s a lack of chain superstores and the place has a very rustic feel to it. It’s very different from London, Paris, Madrid and other capital cities that we’re more familiar with. It’s the perfect place to stock up for the long sea passage to New Zealand and also to find some hidden treats such as Camembert and baguette – which I enjoyed all to myself as a birthday breakfast on the 1st of November. The weather was misreble, I made pumpkin soup out of the Halloween jack o lantern from the night before and we even had some boat trick or treaters! All in all it was a great birthday that reminded me a little of home.

Poised to Pounce

We set sail from VaVa’U on October 14th and have spent the last couple of weeks slowly working our way South, hopping from island to island following the ridge of volcanic activity that spawned some of the Tongan islands many years ago and which continues to spawn new ones to this day. Every now and then a spurt of activity yields a new one. Many break apart and sink (or even float off into the pacific!) but some are more firmly rooted to the seabed and look set to endure for millennia to come. The most recent was ejected from the bowels of the Earth in March 2015. It’s about 2 square kilometres in area and of course does not appear on our old charts. We know it’s there though, and don’t worry – we won’t hit it!


Here we have the volcano island of Kao (on the right!), which we sailed past at a distance. Sarah managed to snap this shot as the haze lifted and I think it looks quite striking. Most of the volcanoes here underwater but some, like this one, project well above it:

We day-sailed down to the Ha’apai Group and spent a little over a week there before making the final hop to Nukualofa, the administrative and commercial capital of Tonga. Being also the closest point to New Zealand (a mere 1020 miles as the whale swims) it’s a good spot to gather ourselves while waiting for the right mix of weather to present itself. Once that opportunity arises we intend to pounce on it to set sail for the Minerva Reefs, followed by the final leg to the North Island of New Zealand.

We are expecting it to be bitter-sweet. We’re leaving behind several friends who have decided to either head for different ports or stay here for the cyclone season. Gone will be the soft-sand beaches bathed in golden sunlight, coconut palms lining every shoreline, warm Polynesian welcomes and wonderful swimming, diving and fishing. On the other hand we are looking forward to supermarkets, open landscapes (other than watery ones) and tucking Bob away on a mooring for a little while and exploring by land for a few months. Sarah’s family recently moved to Thailand, so we intend to fly there for two months. My brother recently moved to Australia so I’ll take the opportunity to visit him over Christmas. New Zealand will be cold and rainy, and we have a lot of work to do on Bob before she’ll be ready for the Torres Straits, Indian Ocean and around the Cape of Good Hope back into the Atlantic. We’ve a long way yet to sail and she’s showing her age. There’s some work to do.

We also intend to spend a good deal of time exploring New Zealand. We’ve bought a camper van (here’s a link to an old add for our van: ) and are really looking forward to travelling by land for a bit. I am particularly looking forward to it because it means I can take a back seat (literally as well as figuratively) and allow Sarah to take over the planning and scheduling of our travels. It’ll be quite a treat to have minimal responsibilities. I have aspirations of lounging in bed reading a book and sipping on a beer while being chauffeured around New Zealand from picturesque spot to picturesque spot……….. perhaps it’s more of a fantasy than an aspiration, but regardless it’ll be great.

As I write this we are experiencing a bit of a blow – 25 knots sustained with gusts up to 30 or 35. Bob is neatly lying to her anchor, protected from the seas by a reef half a mile to windward and a motu (island) just off the port bow. Such weather is not unusual at this time of year, when strong high-pressure systems between us and New Zealand reinforce the trade winds along their Northern edges. There are quite a few boats here with us – perhaps 20 – and we all have the same agenda. Some people have light-displacement modern boats and are looking for 12 to 15 knots of wind for their onward journey. Others have heavily-built steel or fibreglass ‘tanks’ which do better in 25 knots. Bob is somewhere in the middle – we like 15 to 20 knots aft of the beam – but all 20 of us are waiting for our chance. Traditionally, the later in the season one departs for New Zealand the more comfortable the passage and the lower the chance of being caught out in a strong low-pressure system. But, the later you leave it the greater the chance (though still small) of encountering a tropical cyclone. The first tropical low (not a cyclone, or even a tropical storm, just a tropical low) of the season looks to be forming over the next week about 800 miles to our WSW. Some forecasts are predicting 60-knot gusts at Minerva, so we’re all watching the development of that with a close eye. If it fails to materialise then early next week looks like it might be a good opportunity to launch. Otherwise it might be another week from now. As always, our lives are managed by ourselves but dictated by the weather. Battling the elements doesn’t really enter into it. If they choose to take up arms, we don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell.


Here’s the view forward, taken just after I finished writing this post. The island on the left is Pangaimotu, and houses the famous (for cruisers!) ‘Big Momma’s Restaurant and Bar’. Like many other places that cater to yachts they also do laundry, sell water, take trash, fill cooking gas cylinders, sell diesel and generally provide a host of esoteric services just for us.



And here’s the view aft, showing some of the other boats in the anchorage. The big catamaran on the right is ‘Prati’ with Magdalena and Carlos on board, whom we first met way back in the Gambier Islands. Far right is ‘Local Talent’ with Gail and Dean on board – two new friends whom we have enjoyed spending a good bit of time with recently. The fourth boat from the right (quite far away) is our very good friends Herbert, Asma and their two boys Adam and Sammy on board ‘Maya’. We first ‘met’ them by radio as they passed by Pitcairn Island in August 2016 and have since spent many enjoyable hours with them at various points along our voyage, as our paths have often crossed. It really is a small world.

The joys of filing a UK tax return

Of course the lifestyle of any ocean vagabond such as ourselves is fraught with various complications, dangers and difficulties – it’s not all about tropical islands, sunshine and frolicking with fishes! The most pressing difficulty for us over the previous 6 weeks has been how to fill in our UK tax return.

I, having submitted self assessment tax returns in the UK many times before, thought I was quite familiar with the system and knew exactly what I needed to do to comply with the rules and regulations of Her Majesties Revenue & Customs. Bah! How naive of me. It turns out that I am, in fact, no longer a UK resident at all despite having no residency in any other country. This means that instead of filing the online tax return by the 30th January 2018, HMRC are requesting I send them ORIGINAL paper copies in the post by 31st October 2017 or risk a hefty fine. Is this not a little backwards? Surely being out of the country means there’s a good chance that I don’t have access to a reliable postal service that will successfully deliver documents to the UK, such as in our current location – the northern islands of Tonga. Still, it was nice of them to tell me about this new deadline when I registered myself as overseas back in February 2016. Oh! Wait a second….. no they didn’t! Moreover, Alex’s overseas registration documents apparently never reached the HMRC, despite being sent at exactly the same time and from the exact same post box as mine.

Ah, the joys of HMRC and British bureaucracy. For a very meagre profit (so meagre, in fact, that we’re a long way from being liable to pay any tax in the first place), Alex and I have had to make about 4 Skype calls (in the middle of the night because of the time difference between the UK and Tonga) which has required us to borrow other peoples phones as we don’t own a long-distance-capable one ourselves, after sailing for half a day to reach an island where the phone signal is good enough to make the call in the first place. Of course it’s not as simple as just filling in our tax return, we first had to fill in a form that issues us with a ‘magic number’ that will then allow us to fill in our tax return. We wait. One week goes by, then two…. still no ‘magic number’ and the deadline is looming ever closer. We make another Skype call to find out where it is.

“Good morning Miss Brooks” (it’s actually almost midnight here)

“You can sign up for an online account which will show you your [magic number] and allow you to fill in your tax return”

The next day we make our way to the internet cafe to sign up for our online account. The webpage reads:

“Please provide a phone number so that we can send you a [magic code] so that you can log into your online account” (We have no phone).

“Otherwise, please download our ‘app’ which will generate a [magic code] so that you can log into your online account” (luckily, this is something we can do on our tablet).

45 minutes later and the ‘app’ has finally managed to download itself onto our tablet through the frustratingly slow internet connection. So, let’s log on to our new online account. We bring up the login page, enter our details and use the ‘app’ to generate a magic code that will allow us to enter our online account so that we can retrieve our elusive ‘magic number’ so that we can then, finally, file our tax return. We enter the code shown in the app…

“Sorry, the [magic code] you have entered is incorrect” (You’re fricking kidding me! It IS the correct code)

We do this 10 more times, still no luck.

We tried to use the online help function, but it didn’t work. We tried to speak to someone using their online ‘chat’ service, but it didn’t work. Eventually, we did manage to logon using the magic code from the ‘app’ and guess what! Our long awaited ‘magic number’ that will actually allow us to file a tax return is NOWHERE TO BE SEEN! At this point Alex slits his wrists and throws himself from the top window of the internet cafe. Only kidding, but I will say that he may have uttered one or two choice phrases that had the rest of the customers either smirking or covering their children’s ears.

After another midnight Skype call we are eventually given the fantastical ‘magic number’ that allows us to actually fill in our tax return. Finally, after a frustrating and painful 6 weeks, our forms are ready to go. We’ve had to fill in a total of 8 forms between us and many of the seemingly straight forward questions were in fact rather difficult for us to answer. For example, “Do you have a home abroad?” Is our boat classed as a home? If so, what’s the address?

We filled in the forms in the most accurate way we possibly could, structuring our answers in a style that HMRC should be very familiar with. Now we just have to figure out how to get them to the UK by the worryingly close deadline in 20 days’ time.

Alex is near suicidal as he desperately tries to make sense of all the HMRC tax forms


Do you think these answers will suffice…?

How we Choose to Waste our Time

You may be wondering what we do with our time? We post these blogs, and in them we tell tales of gallant exploration of far-flung paradisaical islands, exciting hitherto-unknown life forms, life-threatening nautical exploits and of course haughty camaraderie with fellow adventurers. But what about the rest of the time?

Well, the rest is fairly uninspiring to be honest. We spend our time much as I hope retirement will pan out if we ever get around to making any money, ‘providing’ for our futures and having the luxury of retiring properly, at the appropriate age, as tradition dictates.

We get up every day at about 8:30am, sit around for a bit, have some breakfast, sit around some more, check the weather forecast if one is available, decide what we’d like to do that day and then come up with a plan for doing those things. We sleep for about 9 or 10 hours every night, watch films, TV shows or play cards in the evenings and talk a lot of gumpf about politics (well, Sarah talks and I say ‘ungh’ every now and then), the merits of various anchor designs (now our roles are reversed), rant about the injustices of the world, or we talk about science. Science is a popular topic on Bob, since we’re both verified geeks. Last night’s topic of conversation is one that we both found particularly stimulating, and which I thought I might share with you all here for the simple reason that I think it’s pretty cool.

As we were wandering back from town yesterday afternoon we were contemplating the laws of physics, when one of us mentioned that by the time we arrived back at the beach we could expect the tide to have risen. Then a question popped into my head. We know that the tides are caused (mainly) by the gravitational pull of the moon pulling water one way or another across the surface of the Earth. And, we have learned from Isaac Newton that energy cannot be created or destroyed (yes yes, I know it really can be, but for all practical purposes let’s stick with classical Newtonian Physics). We also know that in order for stuff to be accelerated, and moved from one place to another (work done) requires an input of energy. Where, therefore, does the energy necessary to move all those millions of tons of water every day come from? Sarah got the answer pretty quickly, but I wasn’t convinced. She thought it must come from the Earth itself. Or rather, the momentum of the Earth spinning on it’s own axis (to simplify things). But surely, if the energy is coming from the rotation of the Earth then the Earth must be slowing down? Rapidly. After all, there’s a lot of ocean that needs to be moved about twice every day.

According to our (very) rough calculations: Let’s assume that 70% of the surface of the Earth is covered by oceans, and that the average oceanic tidal range is 0.6m. That corresponds to a total of about 440 trillion tons of water moved every day. That’s a really big number! But is it? Well, a quick Google search (we can do Google on board now, for as long as we’re in Tonga) told us that the mass of the Earth is a whopping 5.927 x 1024Kg (that is, 5,927 with 21 zeros after it!). So the total tidal movement of water, daily, is only 0.00000742 percent of the mass of the Earth. Not so much after all.* In fact, another Google search told us that the Earth is slowing down, as Sarah’s hypothesis would demand. When the Earth and moon were relatively new 4.5 billion years ago each day (each rotation of the earth) lasted only 5 hours. Our days are getting longer. 2 milliseconds every 100 years to be precise. Furthermore, we are losing the moon, which is being pushed out from it’s orbit at the rate of a few centimetres per year. Sooner or later it will break free from the clutches of it’s possessor and spin off all by itself into space.

So, that’s how we sometimes spend our time. Not much use to anyone, but occasionally kind of cool nonetheless 🙂

Finally, since this post might be a touch tedious without the addition of some aesthetically-pleasing visual stimulus, here’s a lovely picture of the moon that Sarah snapped a few days ago, complete with well-timed bat flying across it:


* Most of the energy is in fact conserved. The water doesn’t get accelerated and displaced in one direction and then accelerated and displaced in another. If it did, we’d slow down by about 24 hours per year according to our calculations. I’m guessing the much smaller figure of 2ms every 100 years might be because the water actually moves as a continuous tidal wave around the planet. The kinetic energy is conserved. Hence, the only energy losses are friction losses in the form of heat. Alternative views, musings and rebuttals are welcome!