Dave thinks it’s Wednesday.
We’re about 6 days from our landfall in Chile. 830 miles to go. I’m starting to get little frissants of excitement, like a child with Xmas approaching.
It’s the biggest single stretch of ocean anywhere, this. And after a month at sea I’m acutely aware of the fact. There have been no real surprises so far, except that the weather has been kinder to us than I was expecting. Miserably grey, cold and wet, but (touch wood) only ordinary gales. Nothing overwhelming like we had on the way down to Macquarie Island.
I don’t know whether I have really enjoyed the Southern Ocean crossing all that much. It’s too long between fresh apples, hot baths and concerts. I knew that would be the case before I left. And yet sometimes on deck when I contemplate these powerful seas and the vast emptiness of the Southern Ocean, I feel privileged to have been here. It is very humbling.
For me, the real pleasure will be in having done it safely, and then the unfolding of new adventures when we get there.
Chris is coming over for 6 weeks. She’s working nights in emergency at Alice Springs Hospital at the moment and is understandably tired, ratty and uncommunicative. She wrote yesterday that she was so tired she was having trouble remembering me! Not the sort of home fire I need burning, but there you are.
Now that landfall becomes a real possibility rather than a possible reality, I’ve started thinking about what madam and I can do in the 6 weeks she has generously allotted Patagonia. Knowing her likes and dislikes I’ve decided to cruise only in the northern channels, down to Laguna San Rafael but no further. All of that is in protected waters inside Chiloe Island in the northern bit and the Chonos Archipelago further south. I reckon we can do that in less than 3 weeks each way. And we should be able to get off and go exploring as well.
That will allow close encounters with hot springs, remote villages, fjords, rachas and at least one big glacier. Also, we stop short of the notorious Golfo de Penas. Interestingly there is doubt about whether Penas means sorrows or some kind of fish.
What happens to Tainui at the end of the 6 weeks is the big question. I think I’ll mothball her in Chile and fly back to Sydney for the winter. God knows, my bank balance needs attention.
My lovely boat has been just a delight. On silvery moonlit nights when the wind is fresh she dances joyously. And I dance with her. When the weather is bad and the world outside is truly hostile, tucked in down below here it is so quiet and cosy that you can’t help but feel grateful, trusting, protected. Like a child in mother’s embrace.