Dee Caffari takes time to appreciate the beauty of the Southern Ocean 7/2/06

Date6 February at 2228

PositionS 47° 48’/W 169° 51′

With the time difference much of your day is spent in darkness in my neck of the woods. Fortunately though with sailing, there is never a time off so there is always something going on. After some fantastic sailing yesterday we approached the evening with a dying breeze and being on the verge of being becalmed. A strange concept after the week I had just survived. The breeze swung aft and therefore reduced my apparent wind even more. I followed it a little to keep moving but was preoccupied with sailing west at long last. We were sailing into a beautiful sunset. The ocean was reduced to a swell and with a gentle rise and fall Aviva sailed towards our destination, the west.

Off in the distance I could make out some dolphins playing in the swell and the bird life flew by the bows being silhouetted against the fading sun. All was peaceful, after the crashing and banging of the previous 10 days there was almost a calm serenity surrounding us. Sailing off the breeze was enabling Aviva to be flat and life onboard could relax a little. You no longer had to hang on for dear life when moving around and a visit to the heads was no longer a mountaineering task.

All around our horizon was a spectrum of colour as the dipping sun illuminated the sky and clouds. Fading shades of red, orange, pink, purple, blue and grey covered the sky and I knew that the dawn would bring an equally good day with it. The ocean reflected the colours in the sky and we felt privileged to see nature give us such a special display.

During the night the wind remained light but consistent. Diamonds pierced the inky black of the sky as a star filled sky spread before us. I automatically grabbed my jacket from the locker before heading on deck and soon realised that although there was a chill from the night there was not the elements to battle as usual on a visit on deck, so the hood and Velcro cuffs that had been done up tight almost out of habit now, could be released. I reset the mainsail and rigged a preventer as the swell was having more of an effect than the wind. The clear night was a pleasure to sail in and a good reminder of how lovely it can be at sea rather than the survival mode we had been sailing in for some time.

Daytime has seen a building breeze and a quick reminder of what it is like to sail off the breeze again. The clouds have increased in the sky and a black cloud that looks like it could hold a shower is currently chasing us.

It is amazing how quickly we forget and sailing today I am frustrated by how much time I have lost in my struggle to get west. The storms and horrendous conditions that we have endured, nearly forgotten to a distant part of my memory. A comparison in times for the same event, when different weather is encountered is almost unfair at times, but there is always that hidden drive in the back of your mind giving you something to chase.

Dee and Aviva