A Prudent call....

Steve Powell
Tue 18 Jan 2011 18:46

I have been monitoring the weather forecast closely over the last couple of days and all the signs are that there is a big weather front coming in on Friday.  We have had the most incredible weather so far for our trip but it’s about to change. Choices had to be made. And they were, as always never simple, but in a nut shell; Leave Antarctica now and try a beat the front across or wait until it passes through. The risks of waiting until it passes through were sitting for possibly up to a week in Antarctica in bad weather with all the associated risks of shifting ice and a Fibre Glass boat, and also using up our vital diesel reserves. Followed by a very rough passage in big seas that follow a front like that, and the risk of a lot of growlers on the lose in those seas.

Or leave now and miss a few of days, we were planning to leave on Thursday or Friday, of Antarctica and get across before the front kicks in. However, if it speeds up or we don’t make the daily mileage I plan we risk getting a good kicking around the Horn. That’s likely anyhow, I guess.

So I made a final review of the situation at 6 o’clock this morning and woke everyone up at seven to tell them that we were leaving in the next couple of hours. Not the most popular decision I’ve made, but one all agreed with when the options were explained.

We are now heading North back across Drake Passage, we expect to have to motor in light winds for the first 48 hours then the winds will start coming in from the East. They will then back to the NE and then finally the ‘proper’ weather will kick in from the NW. By that time I am hoping to be well across and almost passed the Horn. If we’re not it might get a little ‘vigorous’.

It has been a fantastic trip across to the Antarctic Peninsula, as I am sure you all agree, all be it a relatively short one. Ten days as opposed to the 14 days we had planned. Everyone is feeling a little low at the moment, which I guess is inevitable after the incredible highs of the last ten days. But we will soon get into the rhythm of passage making again, watches, dinners and sleep, and it won’t be long until we start thinking about the next leg, up the Beagle Channel and the Chilean Archipelagos.

Was it worth it?   All the months, no years, of preparation.... all the agonising and doubts, and of course the cost.

Every moment..... Every sleepless night.... And every penny.

Luv to you all

Steve & the crew

18th January 2011