The Drake Passage is the notorious stretch of ocean between the southern tip of South America and Antarctica. It is known for being a fierce section of ocean that can deliver the most horrendous weather conditions, due to the massive waves of the vast Southern Ocean squeezing though the relatively narrow and shallow bottle neck of the Drake passage.
Falklands to Antarctica – All this to say, by the time we left the Falkland Islands on Saturday 25th January my nerves were well settled and I was ready to see what was a head of us. I knew that with the right forecast it would be fine and a lot easier that what we could have experienced earlier.
With seven of us aboard, I was lucky to be taken of watch duty for the passage to and from Antarctica. This meant I didn’t have to spend eight hours of a 24 hour day outside in the cold plus the normal cooking and cleaning….so happily I stayed inside.
The first few hours out of the Falklands were a little bumpy as the sea conditions were a lot worse than the strength of the wind. So we were being tossed around.
Three and a half days after leaving the Falklands land was sighted early, and with it our first ice bergs were spotted. A pretty scary feeling knowing there is a lump of ice solid as a rock bigger than the boat just floating around. There we were arriving at the South Shetland Islands.
Antarctica to Cape Horn – Once again we were lucky with the weather. Our forecast showed on leaving Antarctic on the 6th February that apart from a few hours of motoring we were going to have a good strong sail. A day out from the Peninsular and over 200 miles away ice bergs were still being spotted. Day two saw head winds, as we continued to plough through. On day three the Drake delivered a good shake with the wind up to 40knots three quarters from behind. We were surfing down the big blue waves. It was impressive to watch the ocean build and to be moving so swiftly through its fierce-ness. Day four and Land Ahoy.
The end of the trip was near…….