19.12.06 – into the Great Emptiness

Our Monday position at 0325UTC is 4326S/16655W. A front has just passed over and the sun has come out. In 20 kts of westerly, 038M is our best course, although the rhumbline is 066M. The Chatham fishermen gave us a frozen lamb which made the splendid stew we’ve just polished off.

We’re doing 7 kts and waiting for the Dave’s dough to rise. It sounds idyllic but it isn’t, really. The foredeck work after dark has been quite challenging in strong winds. Last night we spent a miserable 5 hours head down in the bilges replacing a steering cable. My tenuous satellite link with Chris is unsatisfactory – through a hollow cardboard pipe she demands space again (As if! She’s in the desert and her admirer is in the southern ocean). And I’ve got tennis elbow. Why am I doing this, I ask myself. Too far, too long, too lonely and too tiring for this grey-haired old man. Margaret is right – he is a maniac. I’ll be glad to have done it though.

Here we are, 9 days from NZ, and only just beginning to poke our nose into the Great Emptiness. Dave asked me to calculate how far it was to the halfway mark. I was horrified to find the answer is 2 weeks! To half way!

I’ve entered a sort of dream world where time is in suspension. We move as automatons from one simple action to the next – toilet, coffee, sleeping, eating, navigating, working on deck, reading. It is cold and mainly wet and windy, so we’re tucked down below most of the time. Seabirds galore – big wandering albatrosses, gadflys, pintados, storm petrels – so beautiful, so well adapted, they highlight our alien status in this loneliest of oceans.

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