Waving goodbye to Antarctica…for now!

Well it seems that in the last week or so, I’ve gone from a rather reluctant blogger to verging on a regular. This is partially out of necessity today, because the blog is written during the pre-breakfast watch (4 AM to 8 AM) and we’ve run out of bread, Andrew Kitching is baking and the remainder of the watch are feeling seasick and didn’t want to sit downstairs at the computer.

At the moment we are almost half of our way back across the Drake passage, and Elinca is going like a train. We’ve covered 206 miles in the last 24 hours with two reefs in the main, full jib and staysail, and much of that 24 hour run due to the acceleration overnight. The wind is marginally abaft the beam, and expected to back to the southwest today and tomorrow, so fingers crossed we can hold this speed and be off Cape Horn on the evening of the 28th.
As Skipper James so aptly summed up yesterday evening, it has been a while since we’ve done 8 knots in the right direction! Yesterday’s excellent sailing in cold crisp sunshine, in my mind, made up for the lack of a brisk boxing day walk.

I must say that we were all a little sad to wave good-bye to Antarctica even as the peaks of the South Shetlands loomed on our quarter for much of the day. I very much hope that the crew of the second Antarctic leg have the same if not better experiences of the frozen paradise. Midnight sun, Christmas penguins, humpback whales illuminated in a quite unique light, will linger long in the memory. Or until I go back again.

After so many highlights having been on the boat for 94 days now, hopefully those from the Antarctic won’t be the last. There is still a (slim) chance that we may land on Cape Horn and visit the lighthouse keeper, and we do of course have the small matter of New Year’s Eve to negotiate while the Fuegean Channels from Cape Horn through to Puerto Williams and Ushuaia are no less than stunning in their own right.

My turn back on the helm now so I best dash, but festive greetings once again.

Best,

Jim

PS for those joining on the next legs, we will clean up the boat, I promise, and we definitely haven’t broken anything.

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3 Responses to Waving goodbye to Antarctica…for now!

  1. Jim's Mum says:

    All these wonderful photos and tales from the Antarctic – I need to go too. But perhaps a cruise will be more suitable for me! I will have to start saving up. Safe rest of the journey back to Puerto Williams and Happy New Year to all Elinca-ites

  2. Barbara Saegall says:

    Please say where the photos are! Am so full of admiration and a tad envious! Perhaps i will save for the same trip as Jim’s mother! Safe journey onward to you all

  3. Anne Crawford says:

    Hope you manage to land on Cape Horn this time. Thanks for the mention Zoe, that was lovely to read. I have to admit as I read these fascinating blogs, as a non sailor, it is like learning another language …”two reefs in the main, full jib and stay sail..” I love it and it is quite a challenge to find out what it all means! If you are having a New Year Quiz, here are a few questions for you. Some very easy and others not so. Have fun!
    1. What name do the Scots give to New Year?
    2. What name is given to the Jewish New Year?
    3. The Caribbean island of Haiti gained independence from which country on 1st January 1803?
    4. Which American President issued the Emancipation Proclamation on New Year’s Day 1863?
    5. Which band took New Year’s Day to number 10 in the charts in 1983?
    6. On New Year’s Day 1975, John Mitchell, H.R. Halderman, and John Ehrlichman were convicted of obstruction of justice in the enquiry into which scandal?
    7. On New Year’s Day 1914, the world’s first airline started operating within which American state?
    8. The traditional New Year Ball Drop takes place at which New York City landmark?
    9. Which female singer was born LaDonna Gaines on New Year’s Eve 1948?
    10. On which day of the week was New year’s Eve in the year 2000?

    Round Two
    1. What is the chemical formula of snow?
    2. US President Franklin Pierce introduced what to White House Christmas tradition in 1856?
    3. Which charity in 1949 was the first to produce a Christmas card?
    4. What red-blooming Christmas plant came originally from Mexico?
    5. Brandy is made from distilling what?
    6. What was Girls Aloud’s 2002 UK Christmas number one single?
    7. Which famous comedy double-act partner made the first ever UK mobile phone call, New
    Year’s Day, 1985?
    8. White Christmas, a cake made of coconut, crisped rice and dried fruit, is popular in which
    country?
    9. Quaid-e-Azam’s Birthday is a 25th December celebration in which country?
    10. Who is the narrator in the 2000 film The Grinch Who Stole Christmas?

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