Wednesday 29th December 2010
Heavy rain overnight gave way quite early in the morning to a backed WSW wind for a short time and clear blue skies - which only became rather cloudy near 6pm local time, by which time the sun was getting rather low anyway. (I'm having to adjust my ship's clock to GMT-6, instead of keeping to PST , which is GMT-8) Wind has been right down to around 12 knots, from W-WNW since late morning, but I'm not in a hurry to move too far S just now - so I accepted our boatspeed of around 5 knots - not a fast day today! But still that big swell (4-5m easily) - seems to be from two directions ... mainly from W but some from more SW - when they meet, they 'lump' up.
There have been lots of prions around all day. Actually look as though they might be blue petrels from beak colour - similar dainty blue-grey markings, same distinctive dark 'M' across their wings, have very dark beak. Trouble is the birds I'm seeing have a white head with black eye-not the dark cap my book shows....?
Most exciting, first thing this morning, was coming up on deck and finding a large Grey-headed albatross sitting in the water right beside our stern - and two more flying around!! They've been close by all day long - so many birds today!!
The weather concern now is of strong winds imminent (increasing over tomorrow) and of unavoidable major swells (maybe up to 9m/30ft!!) over the coming
weekend - around the New Year... Seems I'll either be blown into the New Year - or knocked into it....
At least the sunny, calm conditions today gave me the chance to change the pole over safely when I had to gybe the mains'l - we're now on port tack - and check everything on deck - including the series drogue deployment routine. I was glad I did that because the chain which acts as a weight at the end of the drogue was NOT as easy to extract from its bag as it should have been - so I've taken it out and tied it down, ready to be deployed easily.
I've also made another big lot of beef and vegetable stew - the last lot was very welcome when I was feeling cold, and lasted for several days ... so it's definitely something to be repeated when nasty weather is looming in these cold conditions!!
Tried taking more photos.... Such bright sunshine all day long, and so many of the birds coming so very close - eyeing me as they hovered close by momentarily, as though they want to inspect me as well! But that always happens when my camera is NOT to hand, or not switched on...!
Spoke to Andy (WA2DKJ) at the South Pole US Antarctic base, KC4AAA, tonight! Clear as a bell - 200 yds from the geographic South Pole!!!
24hr DMG to noon UTC: 130 n.ml. (See maps showing track & position via links on my website 'Travels' page)
At 1200 (Wednesday) UTC: 50:58S, 095:35W. Cape Horn WP 1046 ml 122T; Chile 760 ml 101T; N.Z. (C.Saunders, Dunedin, S.Island) 3482 ml 235T; Mexico
(Cabo S. Lucas) 4490ml 346T.