Monday, September 21, 2009
21 September, 1910 Ile St. Paul!
If you draw a line between the tip of South Africa and the bottom of Australia across the southern Indian Ocean, about halfway you will see a tiny couple of islands, one of which is St. Paul. It's just about the only speck of land on this part of the globe, and has always been used as a sort of marker for ships to turn north if they want to go up to India.
Tried to land. All hands on deck to bring in sail, but by 5am the winds were beastly, making it impossible for us to make the tiny harbor in the crater of the volcano there. Blink and you'll miss it. All very much disappointed. Saw nothing special in the way of birds as we sailed past.
So it's on to the Antipodes we go.
St. Paul is one of those godforsaken places claimed by the French. Why, one wonders. What can possibly be the point. Maybe they'll use it one day as a penal colony. That's their sort of thing, isn't it? Find a place as far from your own country as possible, then send your prisoners there to live out their wretched days on some sun-baked, insect-filled patch of land.
At least I can be proud to say we British would never do something like that.