Wednesday, February 15th, 2006
Imagine the longest car trip of your life, when you honestly think you will never get to where you are going. That’s us right now. So close, yet so FAR!
I have to say that even your worst days onboard the Picton Castle are nearer to your greatest days on land. However just occasionally I think it is good to tell you that just sometimes you can’t wait to get to port. Today is one of them. It feels like we have been on this passage for at least three years. It is in fact closer to three weeks and actually record breaking, if you start counting from where we actually start making progress, and discount the circles we sailed in for the first week, to avoid the horrid cyclone, Boloetse. But now so close to Cape Town and very close to land (we can see it), we have had to heave to. There is a nasty headwind in the form of a SW gale and we again wait for it to pass.
After going lickety split for the last week, to be standing still is frustrating. This kind of turbulent and sudden weather is not unusual for the Cape of Good Hope, and it is what it is. But it has got me thinking about the days of sail and those who would have had to battle violently around Cape Horn (around South America) for days, weeks, and sometimes even months, waiting for a fair wind or for weather to pass before they can make progress—and enduring some pretty heavy storms while they were at it. If we have heave-to for a day and feel slightly grumpy and frustrated, how on earth did they feel after weeks of rolling in the constant heavy swell, waiting just waiting, and watching their water and food run short? I can’t imagine. It makes me glad we don’t go around Cape Horn! The Captain says the he has no interest in going there because they don’t have post cards with palm trees.
Right now we are doing what any other sailing ship in any day of sail does around the Cape of Good Hope. We wait. The weather is changeable, and will frequently just come from nowhere, or so it seems: Large fog banks, gales, big swelly seas and a fierce current. But even knowing that it will pass (quickly we hope), we are just too darn excited to be going to Cape Town to bear having the brakes put on us now.
On an interesting note: It is much cooler now. Almost overnight the weather has got us into long pants and fleeces. Kolin, Bart, and Brent all have on hats! My feet are cold in the water coming over the deck, and I even slept with a blanket last night. So I thought I would just check the temperature. If you are sitting curled up at home with your house surrounded by snow I apologize right now for these results. For we are chilly, and it is 71 F. degrees on deck. The water temperature has dropped in the last 12 hours from a kind of chilly 81 F. to a “My feet are cold” 73 degrees! Outrageous! But it feels so good! Joe made a delicious squash and ginger soup with hot molasses rolls and it felt great to be eating soup and warming ourselves up!
We don’t sound so hard core now, do we!