After a long stint under motor with too little wind leaving Antarctica, we have been honking along for the last 24 hours. Average speed is around 8.5 knots. Just 60 nautical miles south of Cape Horn, the sea is looking a bit more like the Drake passage that one would imagine. It’s a little lumpy, and with some stronger winds, but Elinca is sailing along beautifully, and helming in these conditions is a lot of fun (and pretty wet from the cheeky waves that slap the side of the boat and rear up in a white frothy spray).
But even in these conditions, nature watch has still been hard at work spotting wildlife between the waves. We have quite a few albatrosses with us, and some small storm petrels and fairy prions, such pretty dainty little things, it’s amazing how they flit through the waves almost tickling them with their wing tips. On this morning watch we were also treated to a couple of hourglass dolphins – black and white dolphins with an hourglass shaped marking down their side. As they swam through the waves we could get a really good look at them through the crystal blue water. But the highlight of the watch was a pod of pilot whales who lazily flowed out of the side of a wave. Picture the Guinness advert with the horses in the crest of the wave, and then replace them with 10 ink black pilot whales. It was fun to watch the slow and deliberate way they roll out of the midst of the chaotic water surface.
I am so sad to have left Antarctica. We were especially lucky with spotting whales, with our total tally somewhere in the 30s. We had a beautiful display between the islands as we left of around 10 humpback whales feeding with regular deep dives and displays of their flukes. Beautiful! What a farewell from Antarctica.
Best wishes to all back home