Its getting pretty real down here at 55' South latitude as we are 745 miles from Cape Horn on the final approach.
It is F'in cold- I cant seem to get warm, even in my sleeping bag. Our JetBoil water heater is our only source of heat. Roger has taken to making a hot water bottle that he brings into the bag with him for his feet and that seems to work, so I am adopting his strategy. Cold and windy here in the Southern Ocean. Game Time. Hostile environment. Back to basics. "Show me the Money Jerry!
If you will indulge me, I'd like to tell a quick story about cold weather. When I was about 23, a recent graduate of the Landing School of Boatbuilding in Kennebunkport, Maine, I connected with a boatbuilder in New Hampshire named Geoffrey Burke. Geoffrey is a master builder of lapstrake canoes, built out of northern white cedar. He lived in northern New Hampshire and we agreed to build an 18' boat together for 5 weeks in January. He lived a very basic, back-country lifestyle with heat by woodstove, no running water, and an outhouse.
So each morning we would rise around 6:00 AM- temperature about 10-degrees below zero, and Geoffrey would light the woodstove, and boil water for "Cowboy Coffee", which is when you pour ground coffee into to a pot of boiling water, let it sit for 5 minutes and then pour it through a not-very-fine strainer. Needless to say, the coffee was strong and it didn't take but 10 minutes before Geoffrey would announce with great pleasure, "Joby, I got a big brown bear knocking on my back door- I'll be back in a few minutes." and off he would go to the outhouse. He would return and I would follow him and that's how our day began, with a supremely satisfying act, that got us going in the right direction. Nights were spent listening to "Burt and I' tapes of old Maine storytelling. The beautiful canoe we built rests comfortably on our porch in Hamilton.
The same basic truths and patterns exist here in the Southern Ocean. Ya gotta find a way to stay warm and alert, and I have found drinking Irish coffee to be a pretty good method. But how many Irish coffees can one man drink in a day? I might be exploring the outer boundaries- like Joey Chestnut eating 100 hot dogs in one sitting. Dude is a world champion.
Our weather/routing software tells us we are 4 days and 10 hours from the finish line. The issue is that there are a series of low-pressure storm systems sweeping around Cape Horn about every two days packing up to 50k wind and 50' seas, so the trick is to get close- say by Diego Ramirez Island and then pick the opportune moment to hang a left and cross the Continental Shelf, past Islas Hornas and then into the finish at Islas Nuevas and then 70 miles up the Beagle Channel to Ushuia, in hopefully mild conditions, given the frontal passage. We are analyzing this continuously over the next 4 days.
Please rub your rosary beads until we are around CH-
Joe and Roger