Dee Caffari continues her helter-skelter ride in 40kts 21/2/06

Date20 February at 2313

PositionS 47° 7’/ E 144° 21′

I treated myself with a cup of tea once the instruments read below 30 knots. It was the first time in 12 hours and I was pretty thirsty. It was such a welcome relief, the relentless noise of the waves crashing over the deck and the wind whistling in the bare rigging aloft was becoming a haunting noise in my dreams every time I closed my eyes. Sleep was hard to come by as Aviva was using the waves as a launch pad again and we were airborne a number of times during the night in the worst of the blow.

We slammed into the back of some waves last night worse than any other we have had in the Southern Ocean to date. The whole interior of the boat shook. A few cupboards opened and shut again. Thankfully when in these conditions you get used to everything having a home so there is never any fear of loose implements flying around.

Heading to the toilet was a full mountaineering feat and not to be taken lightly. I waited until desperation overtook and then I knew the effort was going to be worthwhile. Everything in normal day-to-day living was on hold as we returned to survival mode again.

One explanation regarding the excessive sea state and amount of water being shipped over the decks would be that we were crossing the South Tasman Rise, an area of the seabed that rises to only 700 metres deep and then returns to a depth of 3 – 4 kilometres deep. The sea temperature was also dropping quickly as we were being forced south by the head winds. We had changed from 14 degrees to only 10.4 degrees. The lower temperatures were being recorded quite far north and being prudent we shall avoid these lower extremes of temperature and therefore higher risk of ice encounters by staying to the north of 50 degrees south.

Again we are trying to play the wind shifts and tack in these strong head winds to try and make progress west. I feel as if I am never going to get a break and I am going to have to earn every hard fought mile in this adventure. If this continues to be character building stuff then I am going to have a rather well formed character at the end of all this!

The night was a wet and windy affair yet again and saw gusts in excess of 40 knots. Dawn arrived with shafts of gold illuminating the companionway steps and making the saloon glow a bright orange. Although not a blue sky, the day was bright and had great potential. Fingers crossed for some ease in the wind strength and a sun to warm the day.

Dee and Aviva