Sunrise at Lake Drake

Neptune and Aiolos, the gods of the sea and the winds, seem to be asleep, as is our crew. It’s 6 o’clock in the morning and I’m sitting on the deck of the Selma, which is rocking in the swell. Mostly gently, but sometimes it rumbles and rattles loudly in the cupboards with the cups and glasses. We have been bobbing in the Drake Passage for 36 hours, drifting a little through the blue. In the weather images, we are stuck in a blue hole, a zone without wind. That’s unusual, usually one low after another passes through here, the Drake is notorious for its storms.

Now it is a large gray-blue lake, with a few white cloud mountains on the horizon in the west, while in the east the sky turns yellow and orange for the sunrise. Albatrosses and petrels pass by and suddenly a single penguin splashes next to the boat.

Saying goodbye and letting go

It is so beautiful and so peaceful that I feel melancholy. These are the last days of our long, wonderful, eventful journey. I would like to stay in this magnificent landscape, with these magical people, on this faithful ship. Just keep sailing, stay in the moment.

That’s why I agree to this break that the weather is giving us and enjoy the sunrise, the inactivity, the brief pause in the middle of the ocean.

Around 8 a.m., things get livelier on board, coffee and tea in the morning sun, later an extensive breakfast. We’ve rarely taken this much time so far; we’ve usually been busy with the watch schedule or with shore leave and excursions.

Waiting for wind is idleness and so it doesn’t take long for the restlessness of liveliness to present an idea: “Let’s go for a swim in the Drake!”

This plan is crazy enough to find instant supporters. The captain also gives the green light and just wants to know when we want to get into the water so that he can prepare the small bathing platform and a safety line.

Swimsuits are pulled out of the furthest corners of the cupboards and the skeptics get their cameras ready to document the event.

And then a courageous jump into the 4.5 degree cold water. The “Drake dip” is a rather short, but very refreshing experience with a long, tingling aftertaste and a good dose of happiness hormones.

To celebrate the day, everyone has the opportunity to take a shower and Paula creates toast Hawaii in the pantry to match the bathing weather.

At 2 p.m. a light wind comes up and at 6 p.m. we set the mainsail. We rush through the waves on the port bow, enjoying the finest sailing.

As darkness falls, we can see it glistening in the water. Bioluminescent organisms sparkle next to the boat, inspired by our encounter. It is always magical for me to watch this.

This day is like a mirror of our long journey: crazy and lively, adventurous and funny, moving and exhilarating.

Being flexible and accepting what is at hand, absolutely supported by the common ‘we’ of our small community.

We continue our journey towards the Falkland Islands. Less than 400 miles separate us from the final destination of our journey.

We will have to let go and say goodbye – to the Selma and to each other. Our hearts and heads are full of countless wonderful memories of our fantastic journey.

But it’s not time yet. We still have a few days, a few miles, a birthday to celebrate, wind, calm, sun, waves…

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