Mo (Re)Enters to the Pacific

15 Feb

February 13, 2019/Day 132

Noon Position: 47 36S  169 48E

Course(t)/Speed(kts): E 6

Miles since departure: 18,054

Avg. Miles/Day: 137

Sunny and clear when I came on deck at 6am. Wind had slowly veered into the north overnight, but it stayed light until midmorning.

During my pre-breakfast ship inspection, I discovered there had been a drama on deck while I slept. Up near the port chainplates, I found a small clump of feathers and a white, chalky deposit. As I looked toward the stern, there were further deposits in various colors, including black and Krill red, until, at the transom, there was one last feather and the trail stopped.

My guess: in the dark of night, a storm petrel or prion collided with the rigging and fell to the deck. It then hobbled (or rolled–they can barely walk) all the way to the stern before finding freedom by falling overboard.

Technically, we entered the Pacific Ocean when we sailed out from under Tasmania. This surprised me as I consulted the chart over coffee. I had considered (and still do) that one enters the vast Pacific when he squeezes his vessel through that narrow, tempest-wracked opening between The Snares and The Traps.

And it’s not just that those features function as the gatekeepers between one ocean and the next, but weather also seems to respect that boundary. The wind we ride at this very moment is from a powerful low to the west of New Zealand that has taken a sharp turn to the south as it approaches those islands. It is diving toward Antarctica as if purposefully to avoid entering the Pacific.

In any case, Mo and I have at last passed out of the Indian Ocean and have begun the long, last leap for the Horn. Only the nearby Bounty and Antipodes Islands will interrupt our view until once again we see (or don’t see) the big, dark rock at the bottom of South America.

The Indian had worried me the most, given its reputation and our recent experience of it, but what comes next is uncharted territory for me. Last year I turned north here and was home in two months. Now we press on to the east…

I recall that Golden Globe Race sailor, Suzy Goodall, was greatly relieved to enter the Pacific just a few months ago. “The Indian Ocean was horrible,” she said. Two weeks later her boat rolled and came up without its mast. So, let’s not be lulled by the name.

Distance to Cape Horn

As of today, we’ve crossed 237 of the 360 meridians that transect the circle connecting Cape Horn to Cape Horn again. That leaves 123 meridians yet to go. If we were to stay at 47S from here, that would give us a rhumb line distance of 5,033 miles (there are 40.9 miles in a degree of longitude at 47S). Adding ten percent for bouncing up and down gives us 5,536 miles. At an average of 140 miles a day, 39 days.

This article was syndicated from The Figure 8 Voyage


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