We reached Stanley at about 7 am this morning. Tom won the sweepstake. I was asleep and missed the big arrival, but our 12 – 3 am last watch more than compensated. We were slipping over a calm sea that shimmered like black oilcloth, still making 7.5 knots even in the light wind. The moon set directly ahead of the bow, the size and colour of a segment of blood orange, and we sat in silence unbroken except for the rustle of water and the intimate murmur of Pelagic Australis’ bones. She’s a fine boat, and it was a moment I won’t forget.
We’re back safe and sound, but we’re a slightly battered crew after the long 5-day beat upwind from South Georgia – even taking into account the wonderful sailing of the last 36 hours. Some of us were ill again, others (me) are just plain tired. So I’m sending a picture of us in our glory days out on the Crean Glacier, and some others – portraits of everyone, so faces can go with names for the record – will follow once I can upload them.
We’re moored at a floating dock at the far end of a rusty pontoon bridge, and I’m sitting at a café table in the Seamen’s Mission on the land side. I’ve had a shower – in the staff bathroom (rose-pink tiles, floral motifs) because Seamen are men and there are no women’s facilities. There are shelves of paperbacks, canteen tables, pingpong and bar football and a cheerful cafeteria with free coffee. Radio Falklands is playing cheesy pop, and dock workers in helmets and hi-vis jackets are on their break.
Tomorrow, an exploration of Stanley, and on Sunday we’re on the weekly flight up to Santiago. Tonight – the official Stanley celebration pub-crawl.