Posts Tagged ‘Drake Passage’

We’d settled into life onto the yacht and we got closer to Antarctica.

Wednesday 24th January 2001

I awoke and I tried to work out what time it was. I hoped I had slept through to the next watch change and I was quite relieved to see my clock at 10:28am when I got up. I had a shave and ate something.

Our watch’s job was to get lunch ready. So Lynn and I began chopping things up for sandwiches. We got a whole load of food ready an I went around taking orders. We made up sandwiches and distributed them. I think the appetites are returning – people ate a lot more!

I had a bit of time till our next watch – 1pm.

It was a glorious day, blue skies, hardly a cloud to be seen. Unfortunately this meant no wind.

I got into all my waterproofs etc and went on watch. It was like being on a cruise! The sun was warm and people lay about on deck. The water is incredibly blue. We are gradually making our way across. There isn’t much wind. The main thing we’ve done on our watch is let the yankee out. Not much else. Just sat back and enjoyed the glorious weather.

Absolutely nothing happened on our watch. I went up to the bow of the boat (I think that is the right term for the front) and sat and watched the sea and let my mind wander.

I sat right at the front and looked back at the boat rocking and making progress over the water. I watched birds flying around and I just watched the deep blue water. It was a beautiful rich deep blue colour. I enjoyed sitting at the front of the boat.

Then back and sat around some more. I got quite hot with all my fleece and wet weather gear on. Sat around and the afternoon moved along. The entertainment was the Yank and Irishman sparring in a verbal duel. They are a funny pair.

Eventually dinner time came and Matt had cooked up a delicious shepherds pie thing, it really was nice. Ate that and sat up with the others. I also say up and ready some of Brenda’s ‘Hockey News’. Ice Hockey is a totally different world, I know nothing of it at all.

Eventually our watch finished at 7pm exactly the way it had started – except that the Yankee was out! It was still a gloriously sunny day. It had been very quiet – a little wind and the engine had been on all the time.

I looked at the ocean around me, wherever I looked I could see the ocean, from horizon to horizon and all in between. The big restless, blue alive ocean!

I then went and had a shower and since the engine had been running there was hot water. My shower was brief and rather swayee, but very refreshing.

The sun is about to set – I’m going to watch the sunset and then go to bed, I’m on the 3-7am shift tomorrow morning. Hopefully there will be a bit of action.

I watched the sunset – it was quite nice, but it was getting cold. I bade goodnight to those on deck and to bed.


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We continued sailing steadily south. The trip continues as the seasickness affected the crew.

Tuesday 23rd January 2001

I woke up a couple of times during the night, but I got up at 6:30am or so and attempted to to do my shift. I got into the wet weather gear and then Brenda, Lynn and myself did our shift. Mike was our watch leader.

We didn’t actually do very much, we put the yankee out and that was about it. We just sat around feeling cold.

I watched the water – there was water from horizon to horizon. It was very soothing to watch.

I also enjoyed watching the birds sail and drift over the water. The albatross’ with wonderful wingspans just glided over the water. They seemed so much more at home than myself. We really didn’t do much.

Lynn and I sang sea shanty songs – we didn’t know the words so we just did the actions. We also sang, ‘What shall we do with the drunken sailor’ and ‘What shall we do with the sleeping Brenda’. We had a good laugh.

Some of the others came up to do lunch and we chatted with them. Marcus was just too cheerful! He and Damien were coping very well with the sea-sickness!

I had been eating steadily over the morning and a bit of porridge and a bit of chocolate and the odd biscuit. I had kept everything down well. I ate half a sandwich for lunch.

We were off at 1pm and I hung about in the doghouse for a bit. The scenery was the same, rolling waves and cloudy all around. The temperature went between 8 and 12 degrees in the doghouse.

I went downstairs and wrote my wrote my sit-rep.

Oh – Andres had sort of roused – but not really. He said “I have been asleep for 16 hours and I still feel ill!’ I wrote the sit-rep, mentioning the fact that a lot of people had come down with sea-sickness and Marcus was too cheerful and Andres had a nickname, ‘Condor’.

After writing the sit-rep I went to my bunk and had a bit of a sleep.

I got up at 6:30pm for dinner. Dinner had been prepared by Marcus and Damien and it was nice – a beef stir-fry with rice! I ate a bit.

Pip and Hilda had arrived for dinner – Pip was feeling a lot better, but still not the best.

I sat in the doghouse for a bit and then went down and did the dishes with Lynn.

After that I came back up to the doghouse and wrote in here. We are presently a bit under 40 miles from the Antarctic convergence zone. This is where we have special rules about waste disposal etc. We’ll also have to keep our eyes open for icebergs and whales.

It is currently overcast and drizzly, there is a bit of wind but we are driving with the motor. Our progress has been steady.

I killed a bit of time, read a bit about the birds of Antarctica and the Drake Passage. We’d seen some albatross’s and petrels.

I lay my head down for a bit, I was on the 11-3 night watch.

I and Brenda and Lynn prepared for the watch and we were ready at 11pm. Emily was our watch leader.

Initially there wasn’t much to do. We just sat in the eerie twilight. After a bit I went up to the bow with Lynn and watched the ocean from the front. She asked me if I studied the Bible much, I said I did and we had a good conversation. She has had a lot of Christianity in her upbringing, Bible verses and Christian schooling. It as a good conversation.

Anyway, we had some action, the wind steadied and strengthened, so we had some sailing to do.

We let out the Yankee and the staysail. We got up to 10 knots – we switched the engine off and it was the most exhilarating experience.

The wind was quite strong, so we reefed the mainsail as well! Plenty of action. It was very exciting, the waters rushing about, putting up sails as the yacht sped along. All done in the dark.

It got dark for a couple of hours and at around 2:30am it began getting light again. The days are incredibly long here.

We aroused the next watch – which was good for I was getting really tired. It was 3am and very cold!

The next watch came up and took over from us. I went to my bunk and to bed.

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