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25/01/13 - Lord Nelson
Blog from Captain Chris: So, we have altered course and headed SE towards the world's most remote community - no airport, 5 days' voyage in the ships that supply the island from Cape Town, about 2000 miles from the nearest civilisation in any direction, and British! We took two days to motor the 300 miles, arriving on Wednesday evening. As we approached, 20 miles from the island, the community's rescue RIB came out to meet us, with the policeman Conrad Glass, who doubles as the immigration officer, and away went our passports, ship's papers and money to pay for 150 postcards and stamps! Tony took our crew member ashore who is staying on Tristan da Cunha for medical reasons.
Conrad hastily stamped all of our passports to prove we'd been there and cleared the ship in. By the time we arrived in the ship and anchored, all formalities ashore had been completed, and all 150 postcards on board had been written, and the sun was just setting. Conrad and the boat crew kindly brought Tony back out, along with Dr Iain, and we were able to show them and the boat crew around the ship and entertain them in the bar
Having lost time in diverting to the island, I was anxious to keep pushing on. The weather over the couple of days we had been heading for the island had been very kind, although we were rolling particularly heavily with a beam swell, and the evening we were anchored off was beautiful: the sun came out, it was flat calm, and we could see not just the summit of Tristan itself, but both of the other islands of the group - Inaccessible and NIghtingale Islands - were also visible, and we were told that this is highly unusual. Tempted though I was to stay overnight and let the crew wander ashore, we could not afford the time, particularly with headwinds forecast, so slightly reluctantly we weighed anchor and headed away to the NE.
This proved to be a fortuitous decision, as we did indeed get headwinds for the next 24 hours, and we only managed about 5 knots motoring into it, and only about 3.5 knots of that were towards Cape Town (I had to come to the north again to get back into fair winds, or we'd be bashing into headwinds indefinitely). However, yesterday evening the wind dropped and came round to the north again, giving a much-needed boost to our speed, and the Yellow-nosed Albatross hovered in our wake.
Meanwhile, we continue on our way towards Cape Town, and today have managed to catch up some time, with a fair wind and square sails set, but unfortunately the persistent rumble of the main engines as they help us keep up our average speed. Much of that hard-won fuel from Brazil will sadly be burnt before we arrive in Cape Town. The weather for the next few days looks fairly unhelpful, with light and variable winds as multiple systems jockey for position, disrupting the normal westerly airstream in this part of the world.
Still: cause for celebration tonight - it's Burns Night, so we shall be having Derek's homemade haggis, and something approaching neaps and tatties, followed I believe by Cranachan. I shall be reprising my role, addressing the Great Chieftain o' the puddin' race, with the traditional toasts and speeches provided by willing "volunteers".
Hoots mon, and lang may your lums reek.