Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ushuaia to Stanley: Day Two

Today we headed out of Puerto Williams at 5 am with calm port conditions, on the tail end of a cold southerly low that brought ice and snow from Antarctica. The Eastern Beagle Channel held these cold winds with cumulonimbus downbursts all the way to the Lemaire strait. Each mass of cloud that rolled through brought ice, hail and snow as we flew along under shortened sail. In 14 hours we had covered 123 nautical miles, averaging 8.7 knots with peaks into the 12 knot range as we surfed down waves. In the sunny breaks - where the mounds of snow slowly melted out of the folds of the reefs in the mai sail - we enjoyed the pods of Fuegan dolphins surfing and playing with the yacht. These dolphins love to play: fast, snub-nosed and full of energy, they put on a show that would have impressed the crowds at Sea World. Night sets in and we are now snuggled down for a night where the winds are due to ease ... At present we are beam-reaching on a northly course, hoping to make ground before the next low pressure front arrives in 18 hours: they come thick and fast here in the south. With 280nm to Stanley we hope for smooth, fast sailing and no more snow. ~ Stephen

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