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08/12/12 - Lord Nelson
Day 51 8th Dec 1400 HRS
We are now 100 miles from Rio de Janeiro! The ship is running a bit ahead of schedule, and we hope to arrive tomorrow. (Sadly our berthing arrangements are still somewhat up in the air).
It’s been an interesting past 24 hours: for much of the time we have been traversing a large offshore oil field with many of the platforms flaring gas; quite a sight at night! The usual service vessels have been swarming around in the surrounding ocean and, in an interesting development, a number of fishing craft have appeared as well. Unfortunately these are mainly small, white and difficult to see. Sailing conditions last night were truly excellent, with Nellie managing 8-9 knots with 20-25 knots of wind. Indeed, in the 24 hours from noon yesterday until noon today we completed 162 NM at an average speed of 6.7 knots. Quite impressive – though sadly the wind has not been so kind to us today (our progress having been cut to 2-3 knots an hour).
As we were leaving Southampton all those weeks ago, we were given a Paralympics torch to take with us. This morning we all proudly took it in turns to have our photos taken with it – just a pity we are not allowed to light it!
This is probably our last watch sailing and we are determined to enjoy it, notwithstanding our rather mediocre speed. The weather is beautiful and warm with a clear blue sky, and although the sea was green this morning, it has become blue again. A few minutes ago we saw what might have been a sunfish (though for Lauren’s sake we aren’t ruling out the possibility of a shark, as she has been waiting to see one)! In a few hours we will reach the Brazilian coast again, as we turn West on the approach to Rio. Whilst we are all excited, we will also miss the sea and all the other good things about the voyage, so there are some mixed feelings around today. Still, it is Rio we’re approaching!
Forward Starboard signing out for the last time: Will, James, H, Henry, Betty, Sam and Ruth. Adios!