FROM 1-7. Near the Horn

Mar 05, 2005 - 0105hrs UTC

Sitrep: 0105hrs 05 Mar 2005 UTC 54’49”S 090’11”W Map Ref 99

I don’t know whether you will ever read this as it seems there may be a problem with the sailmail system. Not sure yet. We haven’t received anything for nearly 2 days including grib weather, so can’t reply to anything you might have sent us.

We are still in the westerly wind at about 25 kts on the 992 isobar and averaging about 6 knots. Good feeling to be getting the miles in the bag again and we are about to celebrate knocking over -800. The GPS is reading 792 to the Horn and the Falklands have appeared on the laptop SOB navigation screen – admittedly at a scale of 6000000:1 but there they are. Excitement tinged with the runner’s 38k feeling that there’s still a hell of a lot of work to be done and the legs and brain have to be kept on the job.

First minor failure with the bread – it’s a bit cold in the cabin and it didn’t rise all that well so is a bit solid but will be great toasted for breakfast. We tried the second rise in Pete’s warm sleeping bag and it worked but never really recovered from the first one.

At about here, casual decisions in the supermarket months ago when buying the supplies come home and smite one. I remember a tired evening in Woollies with Hilary and two trollies crammed with stuff – can’t remember, but I think it was our third trip and the credit card was looking desperately motheaten and I looked at the biscuit shelves and tossed in four packets of McVities digestives – the real thing, almost entirely butter, but very expensive and topped up the trolley with a load of lesser imitations. The imitations are long gone in past early morning dunking frenzies and we’re down to 2 McVities biscuits per day each – we might just make it to Stanley before we run out. We’re doing it really hard down here – Saos and ryvita just dont dunk properly and Mcvities are sublime. This the only rationing we have needed so far. The food has worked out extremely well – thanks Hilary for all that planning and listing and supervision – it’s been great. Only a couple of things that I might do differently – fewer mars bars and more snakes, for instance, and all trivial. The other mistake, probably the same evening, was in not getting a couple more 3 litre boxes of plonk, although given the fate of our last one, it was perhaps a good decision.

With a whole skyline uncluttered by skyscrapers or smog I’m much more conscious of cloud formations and they are spectacular here and beautifully sharp and coloured. Pete is out taking a photo as I write.

Almost to start guessing the time we first sight the tops of the Andes. I think they are called the Patagonian Cordillera this far south. If it’s clear and daylight, we should see them from about 40 miles out and sometime in the next 7 days if we can keep moving. That will be a moment to treasure.

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