Not a sail has been doused or furled in a hurry, not a yard has been braced, not that the fair breeze has changed since leaving behind South Georgia and the Europa faced the renown Furious 50’s. Normally a highway around the world of one Low Pressure System after the other, along an ocean uninterrupted by any large landmass. These days they have been displaced by an anticyclonic circulation sitting between South Georgia and Tristan da Cunha.
Used as the Europa is to sail on those high latitudes, subjected to the moody character of the Southern Ocean, now instead we fell into the influence of this large High Pressure System. Lucky enough we ride the southern back of it, where just about 12 to 15kn of steady wind blows from the West.
All canvas set, making way at 4 to 5kn Broad Reach, over smooth seas, though in a good course towards our next destination. Just in the late evening, little bit more energetic winds and slightly veering to a more Northwesterly, pull us a couple of knots faster, the braces hauled slightly sharper.
Sail repairs continue in the library, with both permanent and voyage crew stitching patches over the ripped and worn out areas of the Gaff Topsail. Weather, though overcast, hold pretty dry, and in the good and easy conditions, sail training keeps on going on deck, hands-on striking and setting sails, learning the how’s, do’s and don’ts. Lectures and seabird surveys keep busy the ones off watch. A steady ship translates too in a stable galley making the work there easier and allowing for elaborate meals.
All when the ship still is inside the Polar Front, eventhough soon we will come up to leave the cold Antarctic waters and meet the temperate Subantarctic zone. But on these sort of winds, sea state and weather, it is merely the cold temperature of both air and surface water, together with coming across an occasional iceberg that reminds us about the region of the world where we find ourselves.
Photo by Ricky Simko