Thursday 24th November 2022

At 08:30 we were still in the Doldrums with a flat calm sea, though on the horizon were big cumulo-nimbus clouds in the Equatorial region that we are approaching which means someone is going to receive rain today.

This tropical region is where essentially the trade winds peter out because of the motion of air in the atmosphere called Hadley Cells and we are currently between one cell and the next. This is where mariners on sailing ships found the wind unreliable. For days on end they maybe almost marooned under a baking sun on a flat calm sea. 

This extract from the poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”  Coleridge S.T. 1834 relates the experience of a crew on a sailing ship in the region.

All in a hot and copper sky,

The bloody Sun, at noon,

Right up above the mast did stand,

No bigger than the Moon.

Day after day, day after day,

We stuck, nor breath nor motion;

As idle as a painted ship

Upon a painted ocean.

Water, water, every where,

And all the boards did shrink;

Water, water, every where,

Nor any drop to drink.

If they were close to wind from a nearby landmass they could tack using their sails to maintain a zig-zag course to reach and cross the Equator and catch the trade winds of the Southern Hemisphere.

The day ended as it began with a flat calm sea and not quite a Coleridge sunset.

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