We made landfall today at Cape Horn. It seems so strange to be able to say that.
The Chilean navy (and a large variety of Jordi's kelp) were there to greet us as they (not the kelp) loaded up the family that had been manning the station for a year. The amount of people power it takes to get us on shore should be acknowledged here. We have two zodiacs on board and they have to be hauled up off the sloop deck and into the water then ferried back and forth to shore. And then hauled back onto the ship when all passengers and crew are safely back on board the Europa. With a bit of wind this becomes a slightly tense manoeuvre that requires several hands, then high fives and satisfied smiles from everyone who pitched in. (Ok, maybe the permanent crew don't high five...but some of us newbies feel pretty good and find it hard to contain the newbieness of it all...or maybe it's just me...high fives for everyone!)
I could feel the excitement in the air, see it on people's faces and hear it in their voices once the zodiacs were back on board because this meant time to unfurl sails, and start sailing through the Drake passage with winds up to 40 knots .... to Antarctica. This is really happening. After quite a bit of sail manoeuvring and handling we were off.....the exhilaration of the moment when the winds filled the sails is indescribable. Really it is. I feel more a part of the sea now. Albatrosses are flying with us at times, dolphins keep us company and now play along the stern of the ship as well as the bow. The odd petrel stops in to check us out, among other seabirds that we will learn more about tomorrow.
Sailing the Drake
Now... life getting used to the movement of the ship, and our watch system begins. Reacting to the heave and roll and familiarizing ourselves to doing everything one handed and handling things at an appropriate angle as we hold on for the ride. I think it was a test that Rensje served us soup for our first meal under sail :) all in the name of adventure. Seasickness has settled on some (with the heave comes the heave) and I hope for a speedy recovery for all afflicted...and hope my luck holds, but did I mention we are sailing the Drake passage? :)