Today has been our final day at sea. It’s been another day of little wind, sunshine and smooth seas. We’ve been making good progress towards Ushuaia at 14 knots (about 20 km / hr) means that bee have made up too much time. In the afternoon we have slowed down to a little over 5 knots because we can’t get tot the Beagle Chanel before 2.30 am as that is the time we have a contract to pick up our pilot. Even if we were able to make it earlier, we can’t dock in Ushuaia before 6.00 am anyway. Our great progress hard been because the winds have been so light, and the sea so smooth, that we have made a lot of time more quickly than anticipated.
This weather is a rarity across the Drake Passage. Mostly, the seas are very rough. We would normally expect a much rougher time with difficulty standing up / walking and people sea sick all over the place. The crew were telling us that on their previous voyage, they lost a day of their expedition time as the seas were so high, the Captain had to simply heave to, and stand still for 14 hours, with the bow facing into the enormous waves and wind. That’s so much of a contrast to our luck!
This morning, we were up again for an 8.00 am breakfast, and we filled in the day with a lot of chatting and joke telling. I edited a few more of my photos. At 12.00 noon, we passé around Cape Horn. We could see its headland about 7 nautical miles away, but that was as close as we were able to go. We had a toast to the ‘Horn’ and thought about all those old mariners , especially those in sailing ships, who had horrific times getting around it.
Indeed, after lunch, I watched a movie that was shot in 1926 by a sailor on one of the largest sailing boats of the day ‘The Peking’ and the conditions were terrible. How they all surveyed the journey while furling sails in high winds and from a height of a 17 story building is beyond me.
This afternoon, our bags were returned from the storeroom and I made a feeble attempt at packing. It’s not so important to get everything so neat and tidy for the trip home, but I did struggle to get everything in again. We will get our embarkation procedures over dinner tonight.
Tonight was to be a ‘formal dinner with the Captain (Captain Beluga – Russian for ”White”) but he is sick with the same cold that has affected us all at sometime over the course of this trip. Instead, it will just be a night with our expedition leader. As I might have mentioned in a previous post, he is a Kiwi named Graham Charles. This is the third of this type of trip that I have now undertaken, and Graham is by far the best expedition leader that I have experienced.
Well, I only nave one more nighty in my bed on board this ship and then it’s a long slow trip home via Buenos Aries, Santiago and Sydney. I think that I will finally get home about 48 hours after I walk down the gangway.