31-Dec-2004 -- The confluential year 2004 is ending soon, and on our way with potatoes from The Netherlands to Abukir in Egypt just a few hours prior its end we could visit 37N 12E. Although the GPS date shows Jan. 1st, it is still Dec. 31st. This has nothing to do with crossing the date line, but it is a bug with the Magnavox software, which we carry forward already since five years. The machine does not like Dec. 31st. Friday, however, is correct, and all will be back to normal again as soon as Jan 1st really arrives.
37N 12E is located close to the island of Pantelleria which belongs to Italy.
Pantelleria is of volcanic origin and contains the craters of numerous extinct volcanoes with several streams of lava and pumice stone.
The highest point of the island is Montagna Grande, which attains an elevation of 836 metres (2742 ft) and rises in its centre - exactly on 12°E. The terraced slopes of the hills are intensely farmed They are dotted with huts and to a great extent are covered with vineyards. The island has several thousands of inhabitants.
Looking towards SSW we see the Western end of the island, and a closer look shows us the capital with its port. Looking finally to SSE we see the Eastern part of Pantelleria.
The weather today is very bad. A low pressure over Malta and a high pressure over the Balcans cause a strong flow of air from the Adriatic Sea over Italy towards Libya. These stormy Northerly winds, attacking our ship exactly from the side cause heavy rolling and make navigation unpleasant to the extreme.
The seaman calls “rolling” the movement of a ship around her longitudinal axis. Today we are rolling constantly about 30° to the starboard side (to the right) and back to the port side (to the left). The cook cannot prepare real food, all his pots and pans are flying around, the soup does not remain where it should but splashes up to the ceiling, and so we just prepare some sandwiches.
A huge tanker, did pass us as well, it is the “Iran Dena” of the “National Iranian Tanker Company”, coming from the Persian Gulf full with crude oil and bound for Rotterdam.