The main engine burbles along on the oily flat seas, with virtually no movement noticeable on board we could be tied to a dock.
But on deck there is an eerie feeling about, the lines of phosphorescence streams out from the side of Xplore as the "Fat English Girl" carves her way south, surrounded by sea fog, the only sign we have is the soft reflection of the navigation steaming lights against the moisture soaked air that is all around.
It's one of those nights that would have captured the writing imagination of Jules Verne and scared the wits out of ancient mariners, already superstitious as they voyaged into unknown oceans and lands, the feeling that slimy tentacles could slither up over the sides of the deck and grab a dozing sailor doing his watch just seem all too real, you feel like you must stay close to the centre of the boat so as to have a chance of getting away from its clutches.
The sea fog that is all around doesn't let you see more than 10 meters all around, but the cover is close to the surface, so if you look directly above you can see the soft glow of the southern hemisphere stars.
Having left Buenos Aires two and a half days ago we have made good progress down the coast of Argentina, sitting 100 to 150 nautical miles (NM) off the coast we are still on the continental shelf, and shallow waters. Our voyage south to Punta Arenas is approximately 1400 NM and if the weather holds true, we could make this in 8 to 10 days in total, if it turns nasty then god only knows our ETA.
We do have a deadline, as our first official trip for the season departs Punta Arenas on the 30th of October and heads for the exciting island of South Georgia, an animal play ground and haven to millions of creatures.
But in the mean time all of us on board will try to recover from the massive work load and daily grind of the last 3 months of re-fit and modifications, we can now sit back and enjoy the fruits of our labor as Xplore looks so good and sails so sweetly.
"Steve and crew,
it is good to hear from you and to learn that you are all underway fo a new exciting season; I am so much looking forward to joining you lot again this winter. I'dlove to see some photos of ur beautiful boat with all the modifications, improvments etc.... and maybe under sail... keep in touch... ciao from a cold milanese morning with a dy in the office ahead.... believe me, you are all quite lucky!!!