15th September 2016:
The day dawned and the mountains to our starboard were lit up in a pink light by the rising sun. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Morning watches in these conditions aren’t too bad at all. For the first time in days there was only occasionally a fulmar that flew past, as the day went on we saw less and less. The less fulmars there were the more kelp there was. We zigzagged to avoid it, whenever possible, but sometimes the only way we knew it was time to do pirouettes again, was when our speed dropped by up to a knot for no apparent reason. The pirouettes weren’t because we were listening to classical music but because that was the best way to get rid of the kelp forest that had accumulated around our keel and rudder. Sometimes you could even see the long blades of the kelp trailing behind the boat, but more often than not they stayed neatly tucked under the boat. It was amazing how much floated away behind us, once it had freed itself.
We were expecting lots of wind the whole day and had heard Caledonia behind us already had gotten it. It didn’t hit us until the worst possible moment: as we were trying to get past Watchman Island. The wind picked up and changed coming right from behind, we had no choice but to adapt course straight for the island, for a while anyway. By the time everyone was on deck to tack, we were worryingly close to the island. If anything else went wrong now, we wouldn’t have a lot of leeway to avoid it. Luckily, we tacked in time and rocketed in the other direction at 8 knots. We took down the main sail to slow down our speed and sailed on only without our jib, still doing over 5 knots at times.
The almost full moon lit up the waves ahead of us. Its golden light even lit up ice bergs or rather made them a scary black against the light. But we were thankful for the moonlight, as it at least meant we had a slight chance of seeing them without the radar.
Noé and Andri were on radar watch and promptly spotted two icebergs. This isn’t an easy task in the high waves we had, as the radar shows the waves too, so you have to find the exact dot which isn’t changing in the hundreds or so. That dot then is your iceberg. A quick call to the person on watch on deck to warn them and to see if they can confirm your suspicion, then back to looking at the radar or a quick look at the berg floating by on deck. Two came close but we were a lot more impressed by the huge one we could see around 2nm away. It looked like it was almost a fifth of the length of Watchman Island, now quite a ways behind us. It was huge! Yes, we know we keep saying the ice bergs we see are huge and they are, but then we see one that trumps the last ‘huge’ one by far. This one looked like a city block of apartments almost a sky scraper. All on deck, we just couldn’t believe its size. How much of the glacier must have broken off, to give you that chunk of ice?! Gofundme link: