Brazil to The Falklands – Day 14

Reading: Act of Oblivion (Robert Harris) (finished)
Weather: Wind dropped right off again to NW-SW1-2, some sunshine but sometimes hazy …..
Thought for the day: Dolphins around the bow – no need to think, just enjoy ….
Evening meal: Chile con carne with rice
Course: 180oC
Distance covered: At 1200 we had covered 1,885 miles (Log 6,070) – 62 miles to go. Final log reading ….
Wildlife headcount: Albatrosses, prions, petrels, Peale’s dolphins, a sea lion, right whales and shearwaters ….

Things got serious this morning. During the morning watch we crossed the 50oS line of latitude meaning that we have hit the furious fifties. However, this morning they just seemed a little whingey and occasionally grumpy, but not very furious. In fact during the day they seemed to get happier. Still, I am sure they will have plenty to throw at us later ….

From the strong winds of yesterday, we went back to too little wind to sail – very all or nothing at the moment. We managed to keep sailing until the 6am watch changeover, but the sails then started slatting around. As has happened so often the wind has fallen, but the seas don’t get the message for a while, so it becomes difficult to sail. On went the engine and for the rest of the day we had the gentle accompaniment (!) of diesel being compressed and set alight.

A load splash beside the boat – just like the sound of a belly flop – indicated a visit by dolphins, but then they simply vanished. Just before lunch they came back and started playing around the bow. These ones were Peale’s dolphins and the way they played differed from previously. They would still dart around switching direction instantaneously, but they seemed to stick very close to the bow and bobstay and loved jumping just ahead of the bow wave. Captivating …..

The engine stayed on. Though the wind did fill in about 4pm just as the Falklands came into view, but it came from bang on the nose and the prospect of tacking the last 30 miles or so into Port Stanley was enough to keep it on. So we motored towards the hills. For the first time in a fortnight we didn’t have to watch the compass to steer, but could aim for something on the land! We steered initially for the lighthouse on Cape Pembroke and then gradually steered round to the west into the bay outside Port Stanley. We had checked in with the port authorities on the VHF and been allocated an anchorage in the bay. Apparently two cruise ships will be following us in later but given that we anchored in nine metres of water, they are unlikely to follow us this far.

We started turning in just at sunset, but the wildlife was still amazing. A sea lion swam over to check us out, jumping out of the water as it swam, two right whales (they have no dorsal fin so are not much of them shows as they swim) blew alongside us for 10 minutes or so and we were accompanied by giant petrels, albatrosses and hundreds of shearwaters. No penguins, but hopefully we will see some later …. We finally anchored around 10pm and celebrated with a beer (or two, or three ….).