Below 40° South

Blog | Below 40 South

A Solo Voyage To The Dark Side of The Moon
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Progress Reports

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Progress report #13

One of the joys working on a film like this is the time spent reviewing and cataloging all the footage that has been shot. Not only the 80+ hours of footage that I have shot over the last four years but the 10+ hours of footage that Howard shot on the voyage. As I sat watching scene after scene, I was struck by how many of the components of Southern Cross have a story of their own. It is interesting how a piece of equipment like the cockpit tent and the associated changes became a thread in the overall fabric of the voyage. It’s exciting to watch that thread blend together with the larger story of the voyage.

The construction process began in Austin, Texas with a local sail maker. Howard had several meetings with sail maker to discuss the design and describe what the tent would have to withstand. In addition to brutal winds and harsh weather, there were also discussions about incorporating a wood burning stove and dealing with an extremely hot stove pipe.


Unfortunately, the effort spent on the first tent proved to be a waste and the design had to be completely scraped because the sail maker just didn’t listen. By this time Southern Cross had moved to Michigan and conversations with Matt Hohlbein at Cutwater Canvas were underway. There were attempts to salvage some of the materials and work, but in the end it was decided to just start from scratch.

The new design proved to be a success, as evident in one particular video diary entry. The tent is up and Howard is tucked in the cuddy while the wind blows and rain hits the tent. Howard points the camera out the window and we catch a glimpse of the full gale blowing outside. What I find most striking about the footage is what you don’t hear or see. You don’t hear the tent flapping or see water dripping inside the tent.


I’ve been in mountaineering tents that were anchored to the side of a mountain while it blows and the sound is almost deafening.  Yet Howard’s voice is easily understandable and all that is heard is wind and rain hitting the tent and cuddy.

There are other components and gear that have their own small story and I’ll try and touch on those as we work toward the finished film and raising the funding.