This morning at 07:00 boat time (UT-3) we’re in position 50 12’S 65 30’W, aming around 7.5 knots on a course of 180 degrees true. The wind’s force 4 from the southwest and it’s overcast with 8/8 of stratocumulus (I’ve become a bit of a cloud geek on this trip).
An area of low pressure passed us by yesterday giving us 30 knot winds. We slowed the boat down to keep her safe and so we didn’t make as good progress as we expected. However, the winds have calmed down today and come around to the beam and so we’re making great progress again. At about 5 o’clock thus morning boat time we crossed the line of 50 degrees south. It’s amazing to think that we’re now almost at the same latitude in the southern hemisphere as the south coast of the UK is in the northern hemisphere.
The weather down here is quite different to the UK though. We’re just under a month off mid-summer’s day (and so a similar time of year to the end of May in the north) but the temperature’s around 10 degrees Celsius. Everyone’s now wearing thick jackets under their oilskins, gloves and are hiding behind the fleecy collars on their jackets. This makes your voice quite muffled and so we’re getting used to pulling our collars aside when we speak so that others can hear us. In the tropics everyone would sit around in the cockpit to keep the helm company, but we’re now rotating around so that you spend twenty minutes on the helm and then rotate back into the warmth of the phuket (our name for the cockpit shelter).
The wildlife is looking very southern ocean with cape petrels, albatrosses and terns circling the boat. As we were coming out of Puerto Deseado we saw terns flying with fish hanging out of the side of their mouths into 20 knots of wind; it’s amazing how tough these little birds are. We still regularly see penguins and dolphins but haven’t seen many whales since Rio and so we’ve got those to look forward to as we get further south.
It’s almost time for my twenty minutes on the helm and so I’d better stop hiding in the warmth of the chart room and put my hat and mittens on to take my turn.