In 2010 when Nick first mentioned sailing to the Antarctic, we smiled and said what a great idea and didn’t think much more about it for a couple of years. Then suddenly it was 2013 and the months ticked by with such speed that before we knew it we found ourselves loading the car and heading to the leaving party in Falmouth.
At 9am on 24th September, with admiration for our adventurous son and his fellow crew members, and a certain amount of fear and anxiety (by me) for what lay ahead, we wandered down to the Elinca mooring. A few tears were shed (by me); we said our farewells and headed off for a coffee and to wait for the call to say “we’re off”. We went back at 12 and again later in the afternoon. Parents and friends gathered on the quayside and chatted while there was a certain amount of what I have learned is called “boat faff” and a few last minute hiccups. By the time Elinca set sail I was just relieved to see it go after all those years of planning and preparations and had no time to fret about this huge journey.
We have been reading the blog every day as soon as it arrives, enjoying the tales of dolphins and amused by the matters of the moment for so many crew living in such close quarters for weeks at a time. We have loved the videos and the photos and I know more are on the way.
And time has passed so quickly again, they have crossed the Atlantic, had fun in Rio, dealt with the roaring 40s and the furious 50s and have one trip to the Antarctic under their belts. And here we are in Ushuaia having decided to make our own tour of South America and meet Nick to see him off for the second half of his trip.
We met again crew members who had set out with Elinca on those early legs and saw the camaraderie and how hard it was for them to say their goodbyes and leave what had been home and family for the past 3 months. They all looked browner (except maybe Clare) and fitter than before and more facial hair was in evidence for most of the chaps.
The new crew assembled for their briefing at 6.30pm, looking forward to their own adventure. It’s still so light here at that time that it felt more like lunch time than tea time. Talking of which, I can reliably report to all the mums that I have witnessed masses of fruit and veg on board and there was already talk of baking and meals to look forward to.
The eagle eyed among you may notice that the picture above has 15 not 14 people in it. I am reliably informed that while Jess much enjoyed her impromptu introduction to sailing by crossing the Bay of Biscay for Leg 1, she is back in Sheffield and settling back into work.
We are heading out to enjoy our own trip down the Beagle Channel and to the penguin colony, weather permitting. The weather goes from rain and wind to sun and (relatively) warm in matters of minutes. It may well be midsummer here, with local families enjoying their Sunday afternoon sitting on the grass and chatting, for us we are wearing layers and when the sun goes in, hats and gloves as well.