Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Long Goodbye

On Saturday, one week ago, I returned to the Falklands from my work trip to Alaska.

Only three days later, we had identified a weather window for the sail to South Georgia. At dawn Thursday we would catch the dawn tide to get out of Carl's marina, and we would be on our way. We started pushing to get all the pre-trip preparations done in time.

On Wednesday we awoke to see a that a new low pressure system had appeared in the forecast. If we left on Thursday it would catch us halfway to South Georgia.

So we went on weather standby. Saturday would be our day. We kept working to get ready.

A day later, the forecast had changed to show the low moving much closer to the Falklands than originally predicted. Leaving Saturday wouldn't do.

We finally took advantage of calm winds and high tide yesterday (Friday) evening to leave the marina, and Stanley. We're cleared out of the Falklands, with permission to stay at anchor through the bad weather Saturday, and to (finally) get going Sunday.

With all of these delays, we actually managed to luck into one of the more relaxed, thorough spells of passage prep that we've ever had. We're well rested and the boat feels ready, though with the inevitable issues to address down the road. We even had time to do things like have a friend over for dinner two nights before we left - something that is usually impossible in the scramble to get out of port.


We are anchored in Hearnden Water, a little estuary around the corner from Stanley. We are untempted at the idea of a walk ashore, as the beaches here were mined by Argentinian forces in 1982. We hear accounts of cows being blown up in the not-too-distant past. But foregoing a walk is no hardship. Both dinghies are lashed securely to the deck and it's a gray, rainy day. We're happy enough to have a day at anchor, working away at final jobs and more or less keeping the boys entertained.

We heard the story yesterday of a boat we know being blown onto a reef last weekend while at anchor in South Georgia. We are heartened to hear that they were able to get themselves off, apparently without severe damage. We inevitably took the lesson of how tough a place to operate South Georgia can be. And that lesson was handily emphasized by a companion lesson on human fallibility put on by me, as I made two or three grossly avoidable errors and bumped Galactic onto a rock as we were motoring into this anchorage last night.

I might have been off the boat for three weeks, and there might have been another two weeks beyond that when we were just getting ready in Stanley and not operating the boat at all. But on the water, you get precious little time to shake off the rust and come back up to your A game.

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