February 9, 2006
Southern Ocean 52 27S 53 34 W
We left Stanley yesterday. One of the things we love about this life is the ability to meet and get to know local people. The Falklands is a great place for this. Shortly after we arrived, Bob, the local ham radio operator, appeared in his car and offered to give us a tour.
A few days later a couple invited us to there home for dinner. The ladies at the tourist information office adopted us. They helped us find places to get the things we needed and one of their friends fixed a sail cover for us and refused payment.
It was blowing 25 knots when we left. We were betting on the weather forecast that Bob, the ham operator gave us. The winds and seas moderated overnight and we have 18 knots on the beam. We are roaring along at 9.5 knots on a rumb line to South Georgia 600 ahead.
February 28, 2006
South Georgia Island 54 50S 36 00W
We are at the bottom of South Georgia. We arrived in a cool drizzle on the 13th with Capistrano. and anchored in Elsehul Bay at the other end of the island and fell into an exhausted sleep. We awoke to see dozens of red-suited camera snapping tourists climbing out of zodiacs onto the fur seal and penguin colonies on the beach.
We hopped down the coast visiting the king penguin colony of Salisbury Plain and the ruins of the whaling stations at Prince Orlof, Husvik and Stromness before checking in with Emma in Grytviken. Emma warned us against visiting the whaling stations and getting too close to penguins.
We had already illegally visited the derelict house where ended Shakelton's amazing journey. Getting too close to wildlife was another violation. It is hard not to get too close. Landing on a beach means weaving between seals and penguins. Once on the beach the fur seals either run off or growl and lunge at us. One of the other boats we met here, Illiwong from Toronto, landed their dinghy into the mouth of an elephant seal. One chomp deflated the dinghy, leaving them in the water.
South Georgia is a wonderful place. The wildlife is amazing. Every beach is covered with seals, penguins and birds. We have spent hours sitting in our dinghy or on shore watching the statuesque king penguins take care of their young, fight off Skuas, bully seals, and establish their territory.
The scenery soars. As I sit here I look up thorough the hatch and see I see walls of grey rock climb to snow covered peaks under the deep blue sky. This fjord ends in a glacier. Seals swim around us and Antarctic Terns jerk and dive for fish. The air is pure. We fill our lungs with much needed oxygen that allows us to climb the mountains from where we look down to Onora and out to wild empty Southern Ocean. It seems ours alone.
The snow is becoming more frequent and it is time to look for the weather window that will take us north to Buenos Aires. Our plan to go directly to Salvador Brazil is not possible. We need a visa that Brazil requires to be used 90 days after issue. We could not get one within the 90 day must use window.
We have decided to park Onora for a year in Brazil and go home to take care things.
Our original plan was to sail directly from Brazil to Canada before the Atlantic hurricane season. The trip to Buenos Aires is against the wind and current and will add several weeks to our trip. Making it almost impossible to make it north before the hurricane season. We have decided to slow down and go home for part of the next year. We will head north in May of 2007.
March 8, 2006
42 18S 46 20 W South Atlantic Ocean
We are half way to Buenos Aires. We face a barrier of bad weather. There is a nasty low heading under Cape Horn will hit us in two days.
The last few days in South Georgia will stay with us in our memories. The snow showers and grey gave way to light warm winds and blue skies. We traveled to the south of the island, a land of a mountain peaks broken by glacier carved bays filled with penguin rookeries and fur, elephant and Weddell seals. The highlights were Gold and Larsen Harbours where we went for long hikes with the crews from Capistrano and Lacaraba, a Spanish boat that we first met in Tasmania.
At three in the afternoon on the second we left the peace of Ocean Harbour and its rusting three masted wreck. We ran into rough seas and headwinds which lasted for three days, including two knot counter currents. Then came two days of good on the wind sailing with moderate seas followed by two days of very little wind which we now have.
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