Dee Caffari prepares for another social occasion alone in the Southern Ocean 24/1/06

Date24 January 0020

PositionS 48° 43’/W 127° 30′

What a fantastic birthday. I may have been the most isolated person on the planet geographically, but reading all the messages made me realise that I never have celebrated my birthday with so many people before, it was great.

The sea state picked up and the sun continued to have a presence in the sky in between all the clouds and again hinted at its ability to warm the skin. I started the day by putting a reef in and was relieved to know that the extra year on my age hadn’t affected my ability to work the winches. The waves began picking Aviva up and throwing her towards the next wave. We bumped along roughly in the right direction and the longitudes began to count down again.

The sun, the significance of the day, speaking to the Technical Team all added to a really good feeling about the day. I was looking at distances to go to various milestones and it suddenly struck me that the voyage was beginning to go quite quickly. A little like your summer holiday, the first week, you feel as if you have all the time in the world and then the last week it all goes so quickly and you try and cram everything in. I was amazed at myself, I knew I would struggle with the end of the voyage but didn’t in my wildest dreams expect to even consider this until at least the equator on my way home. To be thinking of missing the sailing and feeling sad when it comes to an end now whilst in the midst of the Southern Ocean, shocked me. Maybe I was regarding the Southern Ocean as an entity in itself. It certainly is an exceptional place that can be wondrous and magical as well as ferocious and intimidating. It was a very surprising feeling that passed through my thoughts and one, I am sure that will rear its head again on several occasions as we progress towards home.

The sailing was great today as Aviva pounded the waves heading WSW in 25 to 30 knots of breeze. The deck was awash most of the time, below deck bucked and rocked as we landed from one wave to the next and the sails drew us forward. I settled into my routine again aided by some extra chocolate and saw from the weather that we were in for some changeable conditions over the next 48 hrs, so we shall be kept busy again. So long as we progress west we don’t mind. You’ll be pleased to know that I refrained from my birthday Champagne. I shall save it for when I am in company, as I haven’t had a drink now for 65 days, and I would hate to sleep deeply or have the feeling of being indestructible on deck. I have a busy social scene this week. Having had my birthday party, I also have a Burns Night Supper to attend this week. So I need to get my rest while I can.

Dee and Aviva