Day 67 About the waves 7/11/13

Nov 7 Stewart IslandPosition: 48.20 S, 168.00 E 

Weather this morning is cloudy with rain and very cold. I found that the wind generator was not putting out any where near as much power as it was given the amount of wind, so I had to bypass the regulator and get some juice out of it that way. Not really a good idea because it can heat the batteries up if not watched carefully. I have to have that power to run the radio. Good news is that I have the batteries and the computer charged so I am ready.  I’m expecting a blow tonight and hope it doesn’t start while we’re on the radio.

Today was about waves. They’re different here in the southern ocean. They weren’t menacing  just an unfeeling power and formidable presence. Their size is something to behold. Today the swells were 3-4 metres and about 7 – 9 seconds apart.
Legions of them. They shared the surface with smaller waves, maybe 1 – 2 metres coming across their shoulders in the direction of the prevailing wind. This combination of waves created a scene of chaos as they collided and broke. West Wind weaved her way through this crowded seascape competing and colliding with all in her path. She rose to meet each one and took the blows with as much grace as her hull would allow, tossing some aside and coming up short with others. I dealt with the motion lying down. The wind gradually came around from south to southeast and for most of the afternoon we had a quartering sea with speeds between 6 and 7 knots.The sun is shining now and the chill is still in the air. 

From first light, there have been at least 30 or 40 birds  riding those waves all around the boat. They are beautiful specimens with colours to match their environment. Sooty shearwaters  and smaller, multi grey Buller’s shearwaters, and the spectacular wandering albatross with their bright white bodies and black tattooed backs. There was a pair of wanderers this morning that tilted gracefully in unison as if putting on an air show, never once flapping their wings. Sailing through this domain of the lively pelagic birds and the unfeeling  southern ocean swells is a powerful experience that leaves me humble in the presence of such beauty and power.

I hit my elbow yesterday which is to be expected. My dressing started to leak and while I was changing it, from what I can see with the aid of the camera, it’s OK. I think it will take a while to heal in this environment. I must make something up to protect it from getting knocked, maybe a piece of styrofoam with a hole in it that I can bandage to my arm. I still have to clear Snares Islands which is 60 miles ahead so til then I will be keeping a close eye on my navigation. It will be nice to break out into the Tasman Sea. I am going to put on some dinner now and get ready to talk to Claire. Still no sat phone coverage, just the same old recording. 

Course 300 Speed 7 knots Wind SE 15 Waves SE 2m Cloud 95% Temp outside 9C Baro 1015 Miles in last 24hrs: 95 

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  1. Hello Glenn and Marylou. Had to drop a line of congratulations and respect now that you’ve turned the corner and are beating across the Tasman Sea to South Cape. 45 years ago I stood at South Cape (after several days of rugged hiking) and surveyed that roiling Southern Ocean, hoping I’d one day feel its surge and taste its spray. My wish came true in ’77-’78, but thankfully with those towering swells and ‘blows’ generally at my back. Now here you are for the second time, facing that enormous stretch of open ocean stretching all the way to Cape Horn. Most of us just hunker down deeper into our recliner at the very thought of it!! Wishing you safe passage, and the deep satisfaction you take from rising to such a demanding challenge, day after day.

    ML – fantastic use of Google Earth. Love the sky view and global map of your followers. You’re becoming a supergeek! :-)

    • MaryLou Wakefield says

      Thanks so much for the encouragement Peter. From one who’s been ‘out there’, you well know, it’s these words of support and encouragement that are just as important as fair winds and favourable seas to see him around and back again. All the best. ML

  2. Pat and Fred Lark says

    Hi Glenn,

    Define “leak” as in “My dressing started to leak”. With thanks and concern but not worry.

    pat and fred

    • MaryLou Wakefield says

      How about “ooze”? Does that do it? He said it’s healing nicely and in customary Glenn fashion said he is going to ‘make something’ to protect it. He’s considering a small piece of styrofoam with a hole cut out of it. That would be Glenn ; )

  3. Lisa Smith says

    It’s wonderful that you’ve built such a global community during your voyage! We’re with you all the way! Add another Isle of Man representative to your list – my husband is enjoying your blog very much!

    • MaryLou Wakefield says

      Thanks Lisa. And the irony is because of download restrictions on board West Wind, Glenn is the only one who can’t see the blog although I send him comments regularly. Thanks for your interest Lisa and welcome Isle of Man followers!!!

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