Passing Over Prince Edward Islands

6 Jan

January 3, 2019/Day 91

Noon Position: 46 18S 38 12E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): E 7

Miles since departure: 12,444

Avg. Miles/Day: 137


Fast sailing with poled out twins as we ride the top of a low. Winds have been 15 – 25 all day (low 20s on average) with my only complaint being that they refuse to go due east, which Monte and I would find more convenient for course making. Seas are chaotic and are producing a stunningly rough ride. I can only imagine what it would be like here in a full gale, and I’m pushing to be off this plateau before the next one arrives.

Mo passed over the Prince Edward Island group at noon today, some 321 days after passing under the same group. That first passing occurred on February 15th of last year at 8 o’clock in the morning. Our course then was ENE at 7; winds were SW at 20; the bar stood at 1023; the sky was total overcast; the cabin temperature, 50 and the sea, 38. My note in the log: “Big increase in bird life. Must be 100 birds; prions, white chinned, wanderers all buzzing around Mo.”

I wonder how many sailors have sailed by the these islands twice in one year on two different circumnavigation attempts.

Prince Edward Islands:

-Two, both small: the larger is Marion, the smaller is Prince Edward.

-Discovered by the Dutch in 1663 but placed at 41S rather than 46S; so, no subsequent Dutch sailors could find it.

-Discovered again in 1772 by Marc-Joseph Marion du Fresne, who thought he’d found Antarctica (as yet undiscovered).

-Cook passed by in 1777, and as he had Marion’s charts (Marion had been killed by natives in New Zealand) and found the islands unnamed there, he gave them the names Marion and Prince Edward.

-None of the above were able to land due to bad weather; that didn’t happen until sealers arrived in 1799.

-The islands have a tundra climate; small lakes and bogs with little vegetation.

-On average, it rains 320 days a year; i.e. about 28 days a month. Temperatures are like what I’ve been reporting from Mo. So are winds, only the land form makes the speeds even higher.

-Summer and winter have similar climates. It can snow, sleet or hail on any day.

-The islands are aswim with penguins and most of the birds I report on this blog also breed there. Twenty nine species and up to 5 million breeders.

-In 1947, South Africa annexed the islands, which had been managed by the British to that point.

-There are no permanent residents. Only a meterological and research station and staff.

-Access is by boat or helicopter.

Both times I passed by, I hoped to get a view, even from afar. But the winds weren’t right on either occasion.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*. Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive. For more information, please see our Comments Policy.

More from the AIM Marine Group