Its 5 am and the sun has just risen, its the first proper sunrise my watch have seen since the 15th of December, made all the more spectacular for the albatrosses gilding around. We are currently 120 nm south of Cape Horn (Position 57.55 S 66.35 W). The concentration of bird life has decreased since we have passed the Antarctic convergence zone and are now in the warmer (relatively so, +2 rather than -2!) waters of the southern ocean – the interior of the boat also feels marginally warmer with the change of water temperature.
Over the past few days the wind has been behind us, which has pushed us along very nicely. During the past 8 hours or so the wind has dropped in speed, meaning lower boat speeds. We have a bit of a “weather window” to make at Cape Horn – as we are still holding out a little bit of hope for a landing (and passport stamp!) which is only achievable in the most benign of conditions. The weather will change at about 0600 GMT (0300 boat time) on the 29th giving us unfavourable wind – and the GPS is giving a current ETA at Cape Horn of 0100 GMT on the 29th. This ETA is directly linked to our boat speed and direction, in real-time, so is very changeable as the boat speed changes with every wave!
Topics of conversation on deck have turned a little to the New Year festivities (along with the continual discussion of footwear, clothing and temperature!), as a counter balance for the slight melancholy pervading since we left Antarctica astern. I think everyone on board holds the inhospitable, stark, beautiful and awe inspiring continent in their hearts now… and (like the bug that Clare and Cliggy caught) I think all of us wish to return!
Andy must be bored as he has started to work up his latest sun sights! Tim is in the galley making some bread for lunch and breakfast, and Juliet is enjoying the warmth of the early morning sun! Its almost my turn on the helm… so time to kit up!