Hello from 55.05S 66.08W.
As has become the pattern since leaving Rio de Janeiro the 4 – 8 AM watch
has the privilege of writing the daily blog post. Awoken as ever 20 minutes
before needing to be ready on deck, this morning has seen two key changes:
the first being daylight, the second the use of the word “really” in front
of the usual “cold”. (The crew member coming off watch doing the wake-up
call will give an indication of conditions on deck which helps us dress
This morning’s watch is currently running on a 15 minute rotation of helm,
deck, and down below to keep us all warm enough, but luckily as we have the
engine running we can have toast!
The last 24 hours have been interesting to say the least, yesterday bringing
some of the best sailing of the trip so far. Elinca covered just shy of
200 miles with strong westerlies pushing us along on a beam reach. On
reaching Estracho de Le Maire it all stopped, and all of a sudden we were
beating into variable southerlies, the wind ranging between southwest 25
knots and southerly 10 knots. Our watch (myself, Nick Higson, Cliggy, and
Jenn Lamb) spent our evening dog watch (6 – 8 pm) reefing, un-reefing and
tacking in an attempt to pass through this stretch of water. As we made our
efforts, I realised that we cannot have been the first sailors to have ever
struggled in this 10 mile gap between Tierra del Fuego and Isla de los
The consolation prize for our evening efforts and the fresh morning
conditions is a sight – as the cloud lifted in the last hour – of the
snow-peaked mountains of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego silhouetted on our starboard side (an
island separated from mainland South America by the Magellan Straits further
north). To port we have Isla Nueva, marking the way into the Beagle Channel,
further along which lies Ushuaia – our departure port for the Antarctic.
When looking at the scenery we are lucky enough to have as our surroundings,
it is strange to think about how far we have come and that having left
Falmouth 9 weeks ago, Cape Horn is just 67 miles away!
We should reach Ushuaia tomorrow where those staying on have a few days to
relax and prepare for the first jaunt south, while it will also to be a
shame to say good-bye to those leaving – some of whom also slipped out of
Falmouth harbour one quiet Tuesday afternoon in September.
In other news, MO-vember has finished now, so final photos of the world’s
most intrepid* and southerly** moustache-carrying men, to follow once tucked
up in Ushuaia.
(*not confirmed; ** also not confirmed)
On a personal note, happy birthday Charlie. I hope the refit is warmer than
it is here!