Race 3 - Day 6
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Crew Diary - Cape Town, South Africa to Albany, Australia
Magnificent desolation. If I remember correctly, that
was how Buzz Aldrin described the moon as he gazed out at it from his helmet
after stepping from the Apollo lander. One imagines he had agonised for weeks
about the words he would use to secure his legacy as the second man to stand on
the moon. I didn't agonise at all; the same words - his words - popped into my
head today as I stared out at the Southern Ocean from the back of Unicef.
It is magnificently desolate here.
We dropped below 40 degrees South last night, and we're now 154 miles beyond that latitude - well into the Roaring Forties. This is a forbidding place. It is calm at the moment, but menacing. One senses the latent violence. This is an ocean that can serve up a severe pasting without effort. Currently we're riding on a slight swell with a very long wavelength and an amplitude of a few metres. The surface is roughly smooth, like old weathered dark blue rock. It sparkles in the sunlight.
The beauty belies its capacity for reducing men to jelly.
There are several large albatross flying around Unicef. They cruise without effort like long range bombers maintaining a holding pattern around the yacht, gliding downwind behind us beyond sight, and then soaring back upwind towards us in a series of tacks until they round our bow, and then turn back downwind to retrace their track. 100 metres from our stern, dozens of tiny birds flock back and forth. They appeared this afternoon - looking as if they have overshot Africa and are desperate to find land. Their size and flying style surely cannot be compatible with patrolling long ranges over sea. We shall see how long they last.
We are gradually turning our heading to the East as the wind swings around, and are currently just over 4,000 miles from our destination. The crew is now well settled into the four-on, four-off routine, and everyone is in rude health. Rex is sitting comfortably once more.