Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Elias is dead keen to cross the Antarctic Convergence.

I think there was some loose parental talk about a chocolate bar being issued to the fo'c'sl hands when the moment comes.

The Antarctic Convergence is that boundary where cold surface Antarctic water slides under warmer subantarctic water. If my rather euphemistic understanding of physical oceanography serves, that sinking Antarctic surface water then goes on to play a role in the global thermohaline circulation, giving us, among other things, the Gulf Stream and palm trees in Ireland.

The world really is a wonderful place.

The Convergence is meant to be dead obvious when you reach it. Sea surface temperature plummets, fog gauzes over everything, and you are awestruck by the vast swarms of pelagic birds and mammals that are suddenly everywhere around you.

It is, moreover, the boundary of the Antarctic world, at least in an oceanographic sense. So sailing across it is a big deal. Thus the promise of a celebratory chocolate bar.

But we're not sure if we've crossed it or not. Water temperature is at 2.9°C, which seems plenty cold. But it has only slowly crept down from 3.4° a couple days ago, rather than dropping precipitously. It's been plenty foggy at times, but there hasn't been any wildlife display to speak of. Still, we're more than halfway to South Georgia, and the chart shows us as having crossed it...

This has been an easy passage so far, and a hard one. Easy in that we have had quite reasonable weather. Hard in the way that passages just seem to be hard, especially at the beginning. I was seasick the first day out, and Eric for the first two days. I've been taking the bulk of the night watches, and that left me dopey and out of sorts on the second day, as I struggled with the new sleep regime. Alisa meanwhile has been putting in the hard yards to take care of the boys.

But now we seem to be hitting our stride. The boys spend the whole day on deck, under the dodger, and they have largely been coexisting in that small space without fighting. I threatened that if there was any fighting on this passage we would bypass both South Georgia and South Africa, and head straight to St. Helena. That seems to have done the trick.

The forecast promises benign weather for the coming days, although we may be (and are currently) reduced to motoring now and then. No sense bobbing around out here, waiting for the next low to come through.

Tonight we ate canned reindeer meat from Beaver Island. And we are, after all, sailing to South Georgia, something we've been wondering about for eight years or so now.

All is well on board.


  1. antarctic convergence .... totally cool!!! wicked cool.

  2. You take care, you guys. That's not a banality in this instance. We mean it. And give out more chocolate bars! It's cold down there! Plenty cold. x

  3. South Africa!....hope you put FBYC Simonstown on your agenda.