It's all about the south for us, right now.
We're just finishing the second day of our passage down to the Auckland Islands, which are described, by the friend who first gave us the idea of this somewhat ridiculous adventure, as "the most accessible part of the sub-antarctic". Whatever THAT means.
Today, though, was beautiful. Sun hats were worn for a while in the cockpit, and when we shut down the engine a little community of Southern Ocean birds quickly settled around us on the oily swell: royal albatross, Buller's and white-capped mollymawks, various unknown species of petrel and shearwater, and of course cape pigeons. Elias gets a huge kick out of spotting the birds, which of course gives us great pleasure.
Yesterday was a bit more fulsome. We were motoring or motor-sailing into swell and/or light breeze for most of the day. Just after dinner I cut too close to some reefs south of Stewart Island. The tide was pumping against swell over a disturbed and somewhat shoal bottom (30 fathoms instead of 70), and the waves suddenly stacked up in front of us, and came over the bow one after another.
Eric, already in his bunk for the night, emptied his stomach onto his pillow. We got him into the cockpit and cleaned up, then settled him onto Alisa's lap to fall to sleep. Then Elias came into the cockpit as well, saying that he was too queasy to stay below. I changed course for deeper water and stayed at the nav station to check in with the nightly Bluff Fisherman's Radio schedule. By the time I was finished with that, the boys were asleep and I was green from being below too long.
It was, if my count is accurate, the 579th time since we left home with a 10-month old Elias that I've wondered just exactly what we were up to. Even with the weather quite good, we were struggling, and it seemed that the most reasonable thing was just to turn around. When I started to suggest that possibility, though, Alisa just said, "Well, we're going now." I swear she's twice as tough as me.
So now, 24 hours later, we're nearly there, and (touch wood) well situated to be in a snug anchorage before the next gale blows tomorrow.