Day 43 – Fifty South

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Tue 25 Jan 2022 21:19
Noon Position: 50 35.4 S 115 35.4 W
Course: SSE Speed: 6 knots
Wind: NW, F5 Sea: moderate
Swell: NW, 2.5 meters
Weather: light fog, cool Visibility: 1 nm
Day’s Run: 151 nm

The ship drove fast, loud roared the blast,
And southward aye we fled.

And now there came both mist and snow,
And it grew wondrous cold:
And ice, mast-high, came floating by,
As green as emerald.

‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’

We continue pushing south trying to get below the low pressure system that judging from the wind direction must be to our NW. The wind has veered slightly during the night so that is a good sign, if it continues to veer we should pass to the south of the low.
As a consequence of heading south, however, naturally we are getting into higher latitudes and this morning at 0610 we crossed 50S. It also occurred to me last night, as I was lying in my bunk listening to the sound of the sea rushing along Sylph’s hull, that we might be entering the northern limits of ice, especially given the foggy conditions that we have been experiencing. So this morning I pulled up the pilot chart for the South Pacific for January and sure enough, we are now well inside the northern limit for ice which extends to 44S at this longitude. Next month it drops back to 53S, and the line on the chart is the extreme limit so I am confident that the risk of encountering ice is low; nonetheless, it is obviously something to be aware of. I reckon it will be a good idea to push east and maybe a bit north as soon as this low has passed by. In the meantime I have turned the ‘Watch Commander’ on and will be having a good look around every fifteen minutes. We continue to experience poor visibility, between about 500 meters and one nautical mile.
The other thing I need to keep an eye out for is of course Coconut. Last night by best estimates she was still about 20nm to the SE of Sylph. I reckon that with the fresh N’ly breeze Sylph should be overtaking her and, from my discussion with Mark this forenoon, that our courses are slowly converging. She should show up on AIS in plenty of time if we are on a potential collision course but I will also keep a visual lookout for her and try calling her on VHF about every hour in between our SSB radio schedules. So far no response. It would be pretty crazy to come all this way and then to literally run into one another.
All is well.