Into the Furious fifties

Lars Alfredson
Sat 19 Nov 2011 14:54
Pos 51:18S 58:03W Noon the 19th of November

19112011 Into the Furious Fifties (Latitude) - Land Sighted

18112011 Continued..

The seas continue to buffet us but we're making good speed and as the day progresses We amuse ourselves trying to take pictures of our escort of birds large and small as they glide in the troughs of the waves and swoop in front of the bow.

Consulting our books we identify flights of Cape Petrels which we are advised and can confirm have been our constant companion on the journeys. Apparently one tagged bird had been observed to follow a ship for 2400km (1491 Miles).

A brief description advises there are 100,000+ breeding pairs of Daption capense,

13.8"/35cm long, weigh 1lb/440grams, wingspan 33"/85cm, have a lifespan of 30+ years, Feed on krill, squid, fish and are circumpolar in the Antarctic and sub Antarctic latitudes and avoid pack ice.

We also have Giant Petrel and various types of Albatross in attendance as well as tiny (By comparison) Wilson's Storm Petrel with wingspan of just 15"/40cm.

The wind drops so we roll out the Jib and jibe, but the sheets gets caught up in the "Dorado", (A special type of ventilator which is designed to let air into the boat but not water) and before we know it's ripped from the deck such is the force in these controlling ropes.

19112011 Into the Furious Fifties

The winds finally die and were barely making 3kts and although the seas remain as confused as ever. In order to maintain stability we run the engine, this has the additional advantages, as we can now run the fridges as well as charge the batteries which are under continual drain from the instruments and other electronics.

During the night the wind returns with renew ferocity. At 0110 its engine off as the wind returns at 26kts. By 0400as the winds reach 35kts and even though we reduce sail further with another reef in the main and a half furled Jib we are making over 12kts.

With the seas running in two directions, every now and they join forces to produce a mountainous wave smashing into our bow and knocking the boat over. On one occasion this is so violent the HF radio flies out from its mounting in the equipment panel though fortunately restrained by its wiring preventing serious damage to it and anyone nearby.

0900 Land Ahoy, and we get our first glimpse of the Falkland Islands which we identify as Cape Bourganville on the north coast. From here on in we running east down the coastline on a converging course to a waypoint off Cape Caryfort. There we will be turning south around the end of the Islands to Port Stanley. Now at noon local time our position is 51:18S 58:03W with our ETA Stanley currently 1600 LT.

Bob the Blog - by Satellite Link