Day 5 – Southern Ocean

Well here we are at sea in the mighty Southern Ocean.

At last.

2 years of planning and preparation, a tearful goodbye with the people I love in Cape Town and off we went! We’re nearly a week in and things have been…let’s say…hard. 4 solid days of battling upwind on a port tack with nothing but dark grey skies and darker, greyer seas.

The first day or two were busy but with winds gusting up to 75knts, there was nothing we could do for the last 2 days but sit and hold on. I don’t do well with boredom. Not that screaming through the waves is boring but 4 hours sitting on your backside watching it is cold and…well…not exciting 🙂

On top of at 45 degrees is tough. Despite reading all the blogs and having been through Clipper training, I was not prepared for the effect of prolonged time living at this angle. Being jolted out of sleep every time the boat goes airborne and slams back into the water. Cooking, walking, ablutions…who knew brushing your teeth would require every muscle in your body!

Thankfully we have had some sun now to dry us out. The wind has died down and backed to the point we have a spinnaker up! Which means the boat is no longer at 45 degrees. Which makes cooking and cleaning eleventy billion times better. I believe there is more of the former on it’s way but hey ho…will enjoy this while I can.

So…to the point. The strange sensations that I’m cataloguing as I go through this experience. Not necessarily good or bad, just noting.

  1. when you’re so cold that the freezing waves crashing over your head feel warm. Don’t worry…the wind soon reminds you that nope, is cold!
  2. when your foulies are soaking from waves smashing on your head and yet you’ve been working so hard that inside your foulies you’re soaking with sweat. Sleeping in your wet stuff is the best way to dry it up!
  3. the weightless feeling you get when a wave washes across the deck and lifts you up off your seat. Yes, friends and family, I am clipped on!
  4. power naps while standing up and holding on. I’ve come up with a game in my head to stay awake. I memorise strings of numbers relating to phrases and then adding first and last digits to find a second string and so on until I get down to 1 digit. So I can tell you that “I Love You” distills to 8. Fact.
  5. the lack of fear. Honestly, before I got on this boat, I was quite nervous about what was going to happen. People tell you scary stories about the southern ocean. Well, we’ve not seen the worst yet, I’m sure, but even 5 of us needing 2 hours on the bucking bow to pull down 1 sail and being soaked to the skin in the process wasn’t scary. It was fun!!

I am absolutely loving it out here.

Current bruise coverage: 34%
Current smile rating: 11/10
Current sleep level: 73% (mother watch!)

Off to my bunk now…sleepy-byes.

Love to all of you with extra squeezes to Popsie, Teen-Bean, Belle, Mazo, Kayla, Nads, Jac-Attack, Tree, Jode, Roberto, Bucks, Madame V and her Drummer boys and, of course, Number One!


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