As an American, I often get made fun of by my British crew mates for my misuse and abuse of the word "Awesome." I have to admit, I do use it fairly often and it wasn't until I got to the Southern Ocean that I realized that I really must reconsider my use of the word.
The reason being is that no other word than the true definition of "awesome" can describe the Southern Ocean. It has been absolutely stunning. In preparation for this leg, I was warned to look out for rogue waves, that it was going to be bitter cold and miserable. To be honest, I wasn't really looking forward to this leg at all given it's reputation.
But I have to say, that nothing could have prepared me for how really awesome this leg has been so far.
First, there have been monster swells that I would have never imagined seeing - let alone actually helming through and surfing down. A few days back I took the helm from Herb, who during the helm changeover surfed down a 50 plus foot wave. AWESOME! Unfortunately, I didn't have the pleasure of such a crazy surf, but I have been able to top my personal best in boat speed -- currently at 21.8 knots and chasing higher speeds each time I step behind the helm.
I knew how amazing the swells have been, having felt each one surfed and gotten doused by the others, but it wasn't until a recent head sail change that it really was put in perspective.
There I was, at the bow, hanking on a Yankee 2, and in between the sail hoist, I had a few moments to soak in what was going on in front of me. In my position at the bow, I had a undisturbed view of the entire boat, and as I looked back to the stern, my eyes widened with amazement. Tony was at the helm, and he looked like an ant as a deep blue monstrous wave he was surfing towered brilliant behind him. I couldn't help but smile wide and whisper to myself -- "awesome."
The Southern Ocean has been a real treat, something that not many people have the opportunity -- or guts -- to take on. The first week gave us some sick surfs, sunny days, starry nights, and beast waves that flooded the deck and left the crew screaming with laughter. Luckily, the water temperature for this first part had been a gorgeous 19 degrees Celsius, something I wasn't expecting but definitely welcomed as we had days where you wouldn't have a chance of leaving the deck dry.
But the air is getting colder, as are the waves that splash over not-so- frequently... and our foulies haven't been dry in over a week.|
Nonetheless, this leg has so far been my favorite purely because of the fantastic sailing we have been privilege to.
So, since my Southern Ocean experience, I am going to really try hard to reserve the word "awesome" for those things that truly deserve it. I'm hoping to step foot in Albany and be able to report the same.