Day 78 – Gough Island

Where Next?
Bob Williams
Tue 1 Mar 2022 14:28
Noon Position: 40 20.3 S 009 28.2 W
Course: ESE Speed: 6.5 knots
Wind: NW, F4 Sea: slight
Swell: W 2 m
Weather: cloudy, mild
Day’s Run: 147 nm

At 0600 this morning we raised Gough Island off the starboard bow, a narrow dark grey strip of land sandwiched between a not quite so grey sea and a low lying layer of slate grey cloud shrouding its peaks. I altered course to starboard and poled the jib out to port to allow us to pass by for a closer look. An hour later I could clearly make out a pillar of rock rising precipitously out of the sea on the island’s northern coast, aptly named Lot’s Wife according to my chart. The island itself remained a sombre grey as we closed, lightening slowly until about a mile off when its cliffy shores resolved into dark green grass-covered not quite so vertical cliffs, and the grey granite-striped rock of the more vertical cliffs where green could not grow.
Meanwhile numerous birds circled Sylph. I counted four Wandering Albatross in their slow lazy effortless wheels, numerous petrels somewhat more energetic in their flapping and dashing about, some large dark-feathered shearwaters, and many delicate white Antarctic Terns, distinctive with their swallow-tails, that hovered around Sylph’s masthead as if they thought it looked like quite a nice perch to land on, though Sylph’s gyrations continually thwarted them.
And now, a few hours later, we have left Gough Island astern, enveloped in its clouds, dropping below the horizon, the bird life once again the odd solitary wheeling albatross or shearwater.
All is well.