Sailing the South Atlantic on variable Northwesterly winds and good weather.
A fantastic sunrise welcome us to the new oceanic area of the 30’s latitudes, announcing a warm and clear day. Now heavy garments and thermals remain in our cabins, instead lighter clothing is seen on deck under the warmer weather and sunshine. Perfect conditions to climb aloft the Mizzen mast and bend-on the Gaff Top sail, which has been undertaking repairs in the library for the last few days.
As the hours pass the wind eases, varying back and forth but all from the NW quadrant. Europa sails with all her canvas set, now braced sharp on Port tack, steering with the idea of gaining more terrain towards the north in preparation for the Northerlies or even Northeasterlies forecasted to come.
Later on, at the end of the day we experience an increase on the Northwesterlies blowing up to 25kn, and braced Close-hauled it makes for striking Royals, Upper Staysails and Outer Jib, with the ship still steering high in the wind and heeling to Starboard.
A strengthening on the winds related with the relative positions of a High Pressure System located NE of Tristan and a Low travelling SW of our current position. We find ourselves sailing the compression zone between both, having to count with the unpredictability of the situation. Wind force will depend on the evolution of those systems, less wind if they move slightly apart, more if they decide to get closer.
Southern Ocean, South Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, highway of weather systems that uninterrupted travel over the open waters. On their passing, they can create large swells travelling eastwards. Characteristics that traditionally in the golden times of sailing have been driving trading vessels on their voyages Eastwards around the world in the Southern Hemisphere. The use of those winds, mostly around the latitudes of the 40’s date from 1611 when their characteristics were found by the Dutch explorer Hendrik Brouwer. All part of the Oceanic attributes ranging from the Shrieking 60’s to the Roaring 40’s and beyond to the southern range of the more friendly and temperate 30’s. Since then well known by the sailors that venture those waters and master their harsh conditions, nevertheless this belt of latitudes is home for the true archetypical lords of the winds and seas: petrels and albatrosses. They spend most of the time offshore, some fly over immense distances, counting for that with supreme adaptations to the marine environment. When they stop their seemingly limitless journeys, it is for breeding on remote islands distributed mostly around the Subantarctic world.
And many of them glided effortlessly around us today. Most spectacular are the great albatrosses, paradigm of the greatest seabirds. Tristan albatrosses of different ages soar pass, subspecies of the Wanderers, long lived and largest amongst all flying birds, which have always impressed those who travel the oceans and never disappoint the lucky ones that happen to be out on deck. Numerous juvenile Black browed join, and with them, Spectacled petrels, endemic from these waters.
Endlessly patrolling the oceans in search for nourishment, today the ones around us have been lucky. Sailing now off the waters south of the Polar Front, far away from continents and islands, and taking advantage of the good weather and seas, time had come to dispose all the biological waste that so far has been stored on board.
But a bit of a problem arose… some bits and pieces of plastic have been detected on it. Just to make sure we are not contributing to the problem caused by the plastics in the oceans, and although it is a usual operation during darkness, this time the garbage had to be revised and checked on deck during the day before dumping it overboard.