Today We Departed the Roaring 40s

Day 138/16

Noon Position: 40.00S 168 39W

Course/Speed: NE7

Wind: WNW15

Bar: 1026, steady

Sea: S6; W1

Sky: Clear; small, cottonball cumulus to the west

Cabin Temperature: 71

Water Temperature: 60

Sail: Big Genoa and Main, full; reaching

Noon-to-Noon Miles Made Good: 149

Miles this leg: 2048

Avg. Miles this leg: 128

Miles since departure: 19,291

Today at noon, precisely, Mo and I sailed out of the Roaring 40s and with that have completed our circuit of the Southern Ocean. Mo had reason to know what was coming, having made the passage before, but I was a babe in the woods.

I am relieved to be headed north and beyond the reach of those great harvester that roam below the continents. The south has been arduous and stressful; the difficult situations and the decisions they required were beyond my experience; the evidence of natural, untamable, raw power, ineffably awing.

If we had completed the course as planned, I would be proud of the accomplishment and humbled by our good fortune. As it is, except for a window and some electronics, we’ve got round in one piece … but we left behind unfinished business.

I now know first hand how serious the effort of a return attempt will be. I will be better prepared, mentally; Mo will be bettered physically. There is not, at least not yet, any dread at the thought of a return. I look forward to the long, gentle passage home, to regrouping–I look forward to the return.

By way of celebrating our transition north, the day dished up encouraged anything but introspection.

I rose and put on boots and a heavy jacket as per usual, and immediately took them off. Even before the sun, it was too warm for such clothes. In fact, I’m down to one layer of long johns, which is quite the look (notice no photo).

Dawn came on orange and summery; the wind sat on the beam and hung there, light and steady. I just couldn’t remain in the cabin; on deck I tuned sails to perfection, tidied line, gazed at the open, blue expanse.

We are entering a desert place. The Southern Ocean is like old growth forest, thick with and vertically stacked with life, but up here things thin out quickly. Southern Albatross we still have, but only stragglers. I saw one Prion today, and (amazingly) one Cape Petrel (very far north for a true Antarctic species). The action is south–it’s where the food is.

Interestingly, by way of showing the lie to that last statement, today a squid chose to fling himself on deck and leave a self portrait in black ink on the non-skid. This did not happen even once in the south.

It’s a beauty of a different kind up here. And for now I’m quite satisfied to be enjoying it.

6 Comments on “Today We Departed the Roaring 40s

  1. It pleases me that you are now at 38° S, which is the reciprocal of us here in the SF Bay area at 38° N. A nice band of latitude to be in – 38S to 38N. Enjoy!

  2. That imprint is amazing! I wish there was some way you could scrape a thing veneer off intact and frame it. Homestretch my man… you’re getting closer to home.

  3. Did you call the tread on your boat, “nonsquid?” Becaue…oh, nevermind, my mistake…

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