We had seen it coming in the forecasts, but the waiting game and mental preparation take more out of you than the blow itself.
It came, it went, we survived, with winds peaking at 39 knots, it was not one of the worst blows that we have seen here in the south by a long shot, but it was our first for the season.
The night went slow, as finally the winds started to ease, the seas were like a washing machine which meant that no mater how much sail you have up, the only way to keep head way and movement was to motor sail.
Dawn light started to creep into the skies just after 5am, no other vessels around we plodded on towards Stanley.
I gathered up enough energy to venture on deck to shake some reefs out of the main sail, I had wanted to for some time but my desire and strength of action didnt match.
The day was looking beautiful, maybe thats where the extra strength had come from, crisp morning light where the air has been totally cleansed by yersterdays storm, the air though, still had its cutting sting to it, a quick reminder of what sailing in the south is like.
I preped the main sheet and then headed to the mast, the boat was still moving in an uncoordinated way as the seas were still unpredictable. My decision to shake out the reefs were to give us more power and to stabilize the boat, we currently still had 4 reefs in and I needed to remove 2.
The lines which are normally strapped to the deck with clip ties were looking like a mad womans breakfast, they had been washed and swirled around all of last night where we had been taking tons of water over the decks.
I started to free and sort the lines to be able to raise the main sail, 4th reef out, hoist the main, 3rd reef out, hoist the main, re-sort and tidy. The chill of this morning southerly air also meant that all the lines were icy and cold, my hands were numbed, ohhh I remeber that feeling, but as yet my hands havent grown the thick skin layer that we get each season from working for months in the cold cold south.
One more line to coil, and for Molly her life line, I looked down at the deck and curled up within the lines she lay. At first I thought she was dead. I bent and checked, and my heart went out for her.
There she was soaked and drowned like a rat, I couldnt believe that she was still alive after yesterdays and last nights storm, but closer I looked and I saw the faintest sign of life, a breath or a slight movement in her limbs.
I reached out to her, and she didnt hesitate, with a soft nudge she accepted my hand and came. Molly could have been like any other casualty at sea, gone and never forgotten, but this cold sunny morning she had been given another life.
I carried Molly to the warmth of the Dog House and settled her down, there were rays of sun light coming through the side windows facing east and she flopped immediatly in a bath of warm, life giving sun light.
The more I spend out at sea, with nature, the more I realise how every living creature, IS a living creature like we are, some days are good and some days are bad, we are born and we die, the question is just when.
Molly is a "Moth" I named her that this morning, she has been sitting and recovering in the Xplore herb garden which is there in the Dog House window.
Nice to feel like you have done something nice, even for a little creature.
Stephen Lat 47 42 S Lon 58 50 W Course 176 Speed 6.8 knots,wind 11 knots direction 265, Temp 5 C www.xplore-expeditions.com