I am writing this mid-afternoon on 6 March, but will set it to post later, where it will be too late to take it back.
In less than three hours we will be aboard. A wee part of me has been hoping for some really good reason for the trip to be cancelled. Nothing to do with me, leaves my honour intact, but permits retreat. That's not happened.
People have asked me if I am afraid, and I've said elsewhere on this blog that I am. Three big things frighten me. My own body's failures are never fun, and often humiliating. I hope that my strength and flexibility are up to the job. It's the sickness I'm really not looking forward to. In the next couple of hours I will take my first Pahia bombs, and I am delighted that last night's 30 knot squalls have died away.
Then there's just fear itself. Going up the masts is a big challenge. Meeting some of the crew at dinner (convened via FB) last night, so many of them are experienced on tall ships. They told me that you build up to the top yards, and that the motion on a tall ship is much easier than the whippy mast of a yacht. I hope they are right.
My third big fear is continuing to be honest on the page, of writing how it feels for me, writing about what I learn, and maybe what I still fail to learn at the end of the journey. Even those experienced in these voyages see the Cape to Cape as a big one. So I will blogging and keeping a journal and taking pictures and generally keeping track of myself as we go along. Some blogs may consist of 'f--k, I want to come home,' but others will be whales and ice and new friends and the romance of a tall ship sailing under the Southern Cross.
For those wondering: we leave today or tomorrow and head through the Beagle Channel to the Atlantic coast. From there we sail south east to Antarctica. After some time there we will go north east to South George, completing a big V in the south-western Atlantic. Those first weeks are a combination of day sailing and passages of about four days.
From South Georgia, in about a month, we change to long passages eastward. If possible we will land at Tristan de Cunha but otherwise it is straight on till morning.
From today I will be sending my blogs to a friend via the sat phone and she will upload them on here. Pictures are prohibitively expensive so words will have to paint the life on Europa. Yes I'm afraid, but excited,wildly excited at the adventure about to begin.