Christmas in the Southern Ocean

It’s Christmas Eve here in the Southern Ocean. Bodacious Dream, Franklin (the ball boy) and I are enjoying the day even though today’s winds have been less than generous. Last night the winds kicked up, but against a strong current, which made for very confusing seas and sailing that was less than comfortable. This morning, as the sun rose, the winds flat out disappeared, and the seas settled down, such that we are just barely moving along at the moment. This gives me some time to relax, to nap and even to sing a few Christmas carols to myself! (Franklin just winces!)

Now, I know some of you may not have gotten over to Facebook to get the word that we departed Cape Town Saturday morning. Before we left I had spent a few days up at the top of Bodacious Dream’s mast making some repairs. Here again is the link to the small FB photo album I included in the last post, but here’s a never before seen short video I made of the splendid views from the top of that mast.

A Grand View of Cape Town 

Truth be told, I’ve been a bit melancholy since leaving, missing my friends and thinking of my family and the holidays. This year, as I did last year, I am spending the holidays away at sea. Next year, I’m planning on staying home and enjoying them properly amidst fine company.

The next five or six weeks will likely consist of our encountering an ongoing series of frontal weather passages. Every couple of days, a cold front should arrive, moving winds from north to south, followed by a day or two of erratic winds before another cold front arrives. I’m told this will prove a regular routine that I’ll soon grow used to. So we’ll see if things play out that way. In any case, I’m already looking forward to getting to New Zealand and seeing old friends there! In the meantime, I’ll distract myself tonight by keeping an eye out for miraculous happenings in the Christmas Eve sky!

One of the longer ones … 

There has been a rather regular flow of ships passing me the last couple of days; most of them coming from or going towards the Pacific Ocean. Some are very large, some not so large at all. Yesterday, I had a fishing boat pass by very close to me and we talked on the radio for a bit. He asked where I was sailing to, as he could tell I was heading east, and he was excited when he heard I was headed to New Zealand – and even more excited to learn that I was sailing alone. He wished me the best of sailing and a safe passage. That’s a pretty kind gesture coming from a fisherman, as these gentlemen make their life on the sea and have a rather protective relationship with it. I feel in a way as though he crossed my path just to welcome me into his waters and to wish me a safe passage.

Any other visitors I’ve had, have flown in to see me … lots of birds and flying fish, but I still have yet to see a whale. I was certain that by now, that I’d have spotted one, as some of the sailors in Cape Town had indicated there were a few pods roaming in these waters. I did see a few seals near Cape Town. It seemed as though I had surprised them, as they stopped what they were doing and watched me for a while before plunging back underwater. You can be sure, I’ll continue to keep an eye out for interesting wildlife.

So, as night has arrived, my attention turns to food. For dinner tonight, I’m planning Chicken Fajitas (from which I’ve painstakingly removed the beans) and fresh tortillas. I’ll toss in an extra ration of chicken (from my special supply) and then a dash of Worcestershire sauce. I’ll finish with some fresh cookies. That sounds a little bit Christmassy, doesn’t it?

In any case, the simplicity of the fare will stand in humble contrast to the magnificence of the sea around me. The meal may soon fade from memory, but where I was on Christmas Eve 2013 will not. My Grandmother once told me, make sure you have memorable experiences in life … someday, you may have very little, but you will always have your memories. Thanks for that advice Granny! I’m doing what I can.

35.23570S, 19.14.7133E

In closing then, a little card wishing you and your friends and your families, a most memorable holiday. I’ll be thinking of you all, as I take my short Christmas Eve walk tonight around the decks!

– Dave, Bodacious Dream & Franklin (who just keeps rolling with it)