Land ho..?

One of the best, one of the most enjoyable parts of any journey, long or short, is the anticipation of seeing your destination for the first time. We all feel it, don’t we? We all feel that nagging, gnawing impatience to finally see where it was we set off to travel to?

Some of my most enjoyable and most memorable travel experiences have been the times spent straining impatiently to see my destination. I have very vivid memories of sitting in the back seat of my mum’s car when I was knee-high to a jawa, gazing out the window, desperate to see the fabled, magical “Blackpool Tower” for the first time, as we went to see the famous Blackpool Illuminations back in the mid 1970s (seriously, the number of telegraph poles I mistook for Blackpool Tower, driving my poor mum spare as I shouted out, wrongly, “THERE it is!” from right behind her!)… I’m never more than a deep breath away from being back in the air conditioned people carrier of my great Californian friends, Chris and Peggy, driving down the tunnel into Yosemite Valley, peering between their heads and over their shoulders to catch my long-awaited first sight of El Capitan and Half Dome… A few deep sighs and I’m sitting beside the window in that Jumbo Jet a week earlier, my first ever time in a plane, gazing down on San Francisco, seeing the city tilting beneath me, searching for the Golden Gate Bridge… and if I close my eyes I can put myself back on the rolling deck of that CalMac ferry, a decade ago, smelling the salty air and shielding my eyes from the brutal Sun as I scanned the horizon for my first glimpse of the coastline of the Orkney Islands…

Where IS it? Is THAT it? No… Is THAT it then? When will I see it? When..?!

Oh, the impatience! The awful, delicious, sweet impatience of that anticipation..!

And now I’m feeling that way again now, as Oppy heads east, towards the faraway hills of Endeavour Crater. I’m impatient for that moment when we get our first, precious, priceless glimpse of “Cape York”, the small, rocky island where the Mars rover will make landfall after her long journey across the great Meridiani desert.

That moment might – MIGHT* – have come.

* underlined several times and coloured in with flourescent marker pen!

When I got up this morning and went online, when I checked – my first click of every day, even before that nectar-sweet first cup of tea! – I found a post from my good friend “ElkGroveDan”. Dan had been taking a close look at a beautiful new colour panorama made by fellow UMSFer James Canvin, one of the forum’s foremost image magicians, and, after enhancing and vertically stretching it, Dan had spotted… something… in the very position where both he and I reckon Cape York will appear on the skyline (see a previous post – just scroll down, you’ll find it!)…

The feature is actually visible on the raw image, too, if it’s stretched…

Oooh…. could it be?!?!

Well, yes, it could… it’s in the right place, and there’s definitely something there, but whoooah, let’s just hang on a minute. 🙂 It might just be a tall dust dune that happens to lie along that line of sight – there are other features a bit like it further along the left. It might be something else entirely. Might, might, might…

It’s waaaaaaay too early to say yet, to be perfectly honest, so we can’t scramble up to the Crows’ Nest and shout “Land Ho!!” just yet. I suppose the chances of this horizon bump actually being Cape York are very, very small; this is a busy, cluttered, hilly, hummocky place, with all kinds of mounds between us and the hills, so – unless we’re very lucky – we’re probably going to get lots of false alarms before we see the real thing. So I’m quite prepared to post a follow up to this post in a few days saying “Nope, sorry, nothing to see here, move along, move along please…”

…but on the other hand, there’s something there, and we might have got lucky, and it might be Cape York. It just might be…


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1 Response to Land ho..?

  1. Buck says:

    Wonderful post!

    Go Oppy, go!

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