Currently located just over 300nm from Cape Horn and experiencing strong 25-30kt NW winds with a 5-6m swell. Current temperature is 7 degrees with a wind chill of -4.
Welcome to day 34 of our voyage. Last night as I was sitting here trying extremely hard to put some words together we were hit by another storm, which was stronger than the last with winds reaching 48kts with a very large swell to match. This has moderated slightly today with wind strengths back to 25-30kts but the large swell has remained. This has made it impossible to do anything today except to keep our watches, have a feed, keep warm and catch some sleep when we can.
Rather than talk too much about the weather I have included some photo’s taken by Hannah in tonight’s log so that you can gain some appreciation of what we are experiencing.
Despite these bad conditions Katherine still came forward and offered to write tonight’s log and I hope all of you appreciate it because as previously stated it is very hard to sit in front of a computer and write when the weather is bad. Enjoy!! And thanks again Katherine for your efforts.
Until tomorrow, take care
It’s been a lumpy couple of days on the STS Young Endeavour. Last night, Minties Watch came up on deck at 1945 to find the Redskins aloft and sea furling the Topsail in difficult conditions. As they lay below (back to the deck), Minties and Redskins hurried forward to furl the jib. We lined up in a “toboggan”, sitting close together near the bow, a line of red, black and high-vis. There was a bit of untangling of the furling line, then we were ready! The Southern Ocean was ready too, and drenched us with spray. Many hands make light work and the jib was soon furled away.
The Redskins headed below for some well-earned rest and all but two Minties headed below to the cafe. There was distressing news there, where some of the last tin of Milo had been spilt. Keel-hauling seemed like an appropriate punishment for the person responsible. The two left on the bridge helped lookout and Staffies Tenille and Sandy took turns helming. The waves are mesmerising. They seem to pile up below the ship then slide out in a rush to form deep crevasses to our starboard. They are easy to see on the approach as they are about as high as the bridge. They look like rugged blue mountains, capped with foamy snow. The occasional call of “wave!” rings out from the lookout and the sailors on the bridge duck as spray is whipped through the bridge by the wind. I saw a gust of 47kts. There is general agreement that this is what we are here for, loving it, even if we are looking forward to some land. Encased in my wet weather gear, I am warm and dry, able to enjoy the power of the ocean!
Given the swell, I thought I would get no sleep in the 12-berth, right at the front of the ship. As it happens I slept very well, snuggled up to the bulkhead. However, I was summoned back on watch all too soon for the “Forenoon Watch”. The wind had dropped off enough for us to lay aloft and cast loose the gaskets on the Topsail. Not wanting to miss out, I tightened up my harness and ascended with three other Minties – Greg, Tito and Caitlin. Despite my sailing gloves, my fingers were numb as I reached the yard. Now how am I supposed to get these knots undone? I carefully edged along the yard, hugging it close and staring straight down at the deck and the wild seas and deck below. The sail was eager to be free and started to flap in the wind as soon as the gaskets started to come off. Topsail loosed and Minties back on deck, we set the sail. Two stayed on deck and the rest headed below for some more breakfast. Surely that was enough for one watch? Nope, the wind dropped below 30kts and four more laid aloft (Tito, Greg, Julia and Effie) to the To’gallant. The sail was set just before lunch. As we stood on the bridge admiring our handy-work, a large wave rolled us to one side. Tito, who was standing next to me, slipped and for a moment looked like a flag flying in the breeze. He was soon returned to the deck of the bridge, but it ended the watch on a high as we headed down for some Mac and Cheese lunch.
Watching people move about the ship is quite entertaining. Everyone will take a few quick steps, then pause, a look of concentration of their faces. It looks like a strange sort of posing and the roll becomes very funny if viewed in this way. Everyone seems to be moving around with confidence though. How strange it will be when I can brush my teeth without clinging to the basin! There was some concern that Ushuaia will not live up to expectations, although, if it is warm, dry, not rolling from side-to-side and has a large supply of chocolate, then I’ll be happy.
Such eventful watches left me sleepy, so I had a nice afternoon snooze. Then it was time for one of the day’s biggest challenges – a shower. I was more successful than one of the boys (not to name names), who was flung out of the shower by a roll of the ship. There were only three or four people brushing their teeth, so a small audience. Warm water and a clean(-ish) feeling is glorious and I was ready for dinner and another watch. The café is full of people playing chess, eating zoopla doopas and generally enjoying the evening. The Watch is almost over and it’s time for the challenge of brushing my teeth and climbing up to my bunk. The adventure continues!
Family…Duddle says hi