Position: 57:34S 067:38W
Date: 2 January 2012
At 1900 yesterday evening we slipped our lines from the Micalvi and motored out into the Beagle Channel to make our way 80 miles through the islands to Cape Horn and then south. Most of the night there was negligible wind and we were motoring. A peaceful start to what we knew would become a more challenging passage.
Our first destination is Deception Island in the South Shetland Islands just north of the Antarctic Peninsula. The horseshoe shaped island is a still active volcano and one enters the caldera through a narrow gap called Neptune’s Bellows because of the funnelling effect it has on the wind. Once anchored in the crater itself, we can go swimming in the hot volcanic springs!
But first we’ve got to cross Drake Passage, the windiest and roughest stretch of water in the world. The distance across is 560 nautical miles and this will take about four days. We were half hoping that given the lack of wind it might have been possible for us to visit Cape Horn on our way past. But as we were approaching from the north the wind kicked in and was soon blowing 35-40 knots, making a landing on the cape impossible. We passed the Horn at 0800, with the drizzly cloud all but blotting out the famous rock about three miles away. We are now, at 2200, 100 miles south of Cape Horn and the sun is still well above the horizon..
The wind has remained at about 35-40 knots for most of the time since – at full gale force, quite a lot by most people’s standards, but pretty normal for round here. The seas have been quite big as well, and all of us have been feeling queasy to a greater or lesser extent. Indeed, I was actually sick – the first time in 35 years. Still not feeling at my best, so I’m keeping this blog quite short. Good night all, from the Southern Ocean, and I hope to be blogging again tomorrow.