The following was written for Cruising World Magazine and also appeared in Yachting Monthly, and Cruising Helmsman.
Cape Horn to Starboard
“Hey Lin, wake up!” I hear Larry’s voice over my storm-tossed dream. “You wanted this chance, come and grab it.”
It takes my body and mind several minutes to coordinate sensory information before I realize my dream wasn’t far off the mark. We really were trying to bash our way past Cape Horn and into the Pacific. But now, instead of the body jarring crash and lurch of a hard driven sailboat fighting to gain weathering against storm force southwesterly winds, I barely feel any movement at all. Instead of dark of night and howl of wind I hear rambunctious terns and see streams of glorious sunlight pouring through the open hatch. Had I dreamed the snow flurries, and frequent squalls? I climb clear of the thick sleeping bag and grab my jeans then add two sweaters over the thermal inners I’d slept in.
All around me are signs of hard sailing. Every devise we’d installed to keep gear securely inside lockers and under floorboards is fastened. Sponges sprout around the edges of dishes and spice jars, a sure sigh Larry has been in to quiet rattles as I slept. On the cabin sole, out of the path of traffic, a half dozen stray items have joined the basket of fruit, and cheese I kept handy to snack on because it had been too rough to cook.
“Were you serious about flying the nylon drifter at the Horn?” Larry calls. “You’ve got your chance. This light air can’t last long. Let’s grab it.”
I don’t waste a second. I’m out the companionway, gloves between my teeth, watch cap only half on as Larry pulls the drifter bag from the lazarette. He laughs as I spin in a circle and almost miss the most significant landmark of our lives together. Then, he reaches out to hug me while he points, “there she is, Cape Horn to starboard.”
I am awestruck, afraid to say a word. Then I grab the sail and wordlessly, using the familiar routines of 37 years of sailing together, we get it flying as an 8 knot southeasterly breeze belies the legends surrounding this southernmost cape where winds normally blow at force eight to twelve, 24 percent of the year, where 78 percent of all winds reported come from the westerly quadrant.
I search out our cameras plus a one-pound bag of confetti I’ve snuck on board. Wind vane set, we frolic and throw bright colored bits of paper into the air then watch them drift slowly down wind toward the sparkling, sun-lit cliffs 8 miles to the north. Photos snapped I say, “Okay, now we have truly flown our nylon sail as we sailed west passed each of the great southern capes of the world. Time to get it down, before we blow it out ”
Why take it down?” Larry counters. “Barometer is steady, it’s keeping us moving. We need every bit of speed we can get to beat this east going current”
In spite of the near freezing temperatures on deck I can’t stay below as, for the next ten hours Taliesin moves sedately westward over the graveyard of thousands of far less fortunate sailors. I throw chunks of bread to the albatross that glide around us and laugh at their clumsy landings, their forwardness as they paddle right up to Taleisin’s side and look into the cockpit for more tidbits. Their massive hooked beaks, their elegant long wings bring to mind what I once read – each bird carries the soul of a Cape Horn sailor whose body lies beneath these icy waters.
I wonder what those professional seamen would have made of the fears that accompanied me for the past two years, the fear I still had as the southerly breeze freshens and we douse our drifter and set the working jib and staysail to leave the Horn astern and charge into the Pacific.
I now realize Larry always planned to “double the horn”. In 1977 when we were in Malta, preparing 5 ton Seraffyn for the rougher weather of the Red Sea Larry said, “next boat we build, no cockpit to fill with seas. Then we could take it anywhere, even round the horn.” I should have linked the clues, but it was almost four years before the next one popped up. “Yes, I want those two extra keel bolts. You can call it overbuilding. I call it insurance to make her strong enough for anything, even Cape Horn,” Larry said as I helped him line up his long drill so the 17th and 18th bolts went straight and true through the bronze floors, teak keel timber and lead.
After 3 ½ years of boat building, then 15,000 miles of Pacific voyaging, Larry convinced me to sail south of Tasmania, ostensibly as the logical route to Western Australia. With careful weather planning and patience we found February gave us breezes light enough to fly our nylon drifter past Maatsuyker Island, and I ignored the next clue. “Do your realize we are only 700 miles north of the latitude of Cape Horn?” Larry mentioned as we passed westward into the Indian Ocean.
Cape Leewin, The Cape of Storms, Cape Hope, over the next years we sailed past each, encountering stormy weather to reach them, but nylon drifter weather as each cape lay on our beam. When we turned north toward Europe after l2 years of voyaging on Taleisin I relaxed. I hadn’t heard Cape Horn mentioned in three years. Then in Norway Larry came back from chatting with a local sailor who had been hoarding charts of Patagonia. “He gave them to me. Fun to look at. Might be an interesting way to go home. Done Panama,” Larry commented nonchalantly. “Sure,” I snapped. “Go find yourself another crew and do it. Panama is fine with me.”
A year later he came across a copy of John Kretschmer’s book, Cape Horn to Starboard. “He did it in a 32 foot Contessa, only half the weight of ours,” Larry told me. “Kretschmer says he didn’t have a lot of sailing experience. He got lucky with the weather. We could too. Let’s give it a try.” AS we explored the Eastern coast of the U.S. from Maine to Virginia for three seasons, I talked of glamour the of Carnival in Trinidad and diving in the San Blas Islands near Panama hoping to lure him into more rational plans.
Then I broke our cardinal rule. Haven and Monica Collins (nee McCants) came to stay for the weekend. Sail designer, racing skipper, Monica had been captain of the first all woman team to do a major ocean race, The Transpac, and the only woman on 80′ Challenger in the Round the World race. Instead of keeping our plans to myself, I asked if she might consider crewing with Larry if he really wanted to go ahead with his Cape Horn Caper. “Cut the crap, ” Monica said.” Great boat, you’ve got lots of experience. You can do it.” As I listened to this woman who was almost young enough to be my daughter, I knew I had to give it a try.
“Larry, I’ll back you up on three conditions.” I said late one night. “First, we take it on as a serious expedition. We go over every single inch of this boat and upgrade everything we can think of. Second, we don’t tell anyone we re trying to do it. That way, if we change our minds, no one will say we failed. Finally, if it is just too hard, if I begin to feel we are risking the boat, we turn and run for the Falklands and on to Africa.” His warm hug and firm assurances didn’t overcome my inner knowledge that I, with my over-active imagination (read fear) and lack of real physical strength, was the weak link in his plan and, if I asked him to turn and run I would always feel, in Monica’s words, I’d wimped out.
Together we studied pilot charts, the Admiralty Ocean Passages for the World, old sailing ship routers like the Sailing directions for the Ethiopic or South Atlantic Ocean 1882, ninth edition by Alexander George Findlay FRGS with addenda to 1899 to determine our schedule. Two periods show slightly more favorable winds, March and April or July and August. During the former, the pilot charts showed 20 to 24% chance of force 7 to force 12 westerly winds (right on the nose) but storms near cape Horn tended to be of shorter duration than in other months. In July and August storms blew 23 to 26% of the time and lasted longer, but almost 15% of all winds came from the south or southeast. The long dark nights, the below freezing temperatures of the southern winter left us little choice. We felt we had to be approaching Cape Horn by March.
The Straits of Le Maire presented the first major hurdle. “The tidal streams create a rough cross-breaking sea which is impassable by boats and even dangerous to vessels of considerable size,” read the dour British Admiralty Pilot book. The Atlantic tide book showed a neap tide with only a 4-meter rise and fall for Tierra del Fuego between February 19th and 22 instead of the 11 meters of spring tides. That date became the central focus of our life as we prepared Taleisin to sail from Virginia, across the Atlantic to the Azores to rejoin the classic sailing ship route south and avoid hurricanes and headwinds as we sailed 8000 miles to arrive at Mar del Plata, Argentina our final provisioning port before the big one.
We wanted to save every spare day we could for final preparations. For the first time in 35 years of voyaging we had spent more time at sea than in port, stopping only at four carefully chosen re-provisioning ports for four days each. We arrived with six weeks to reinforce our sails, paint the bottom, and inspect every inch of the boat from masthead to rudder pintles. We watched as the Argentinean economy collapsed around us and saw our warm Latin friends lose their hard earned savings, then their jobs and finally their hope. The currency kept devaluing until we found we were provisioning for one third the cost we had anticipated. We blessed the simplicity of our engineless boat since the devaluation also meant shops had few imported goods and even the customs offices closed down so obtaining replacement parts for engines, electronics or complicated sailing gear became difficult.
Our persistence paid off. On February 21st after eight months of sailing through the calms of the Azorean High, the Sahara dust laden Northeast trades, the squally confusion of the ITCZ, the storm tossed waters off Santa Catarina in Southern Brazil, past the black cigar shaped clouds of the Uruguayan pamperos then between the Antarctic generated storms of the roaring 40′s, Taleisin and her well-rested crew lay hove to in a 30 knot northwesterly at 54°29″S, 64°46″W, surrounded by thousands of black backed albatross, only 10 miles north of the straits of Le Maire. Rays of sunshine highlighted the hard edged cumulous clouds, the barometer began climbing from its low of 976 mb as we waited to follow the instructions of the Admiralty pilot book- “In order to avoid the race and a foul tidal stream, vessels should arrive…at the beginning of the south going stream, one hour after high water at Bahia Buen Successo.
The amazing vista of spiky, cloud draped mountains on Staten Island to port, weather-worn, round hills of the Tierra del Fuego’s Three Brothers to starboard, brought back the words of Galileo Ferraresi, an Italian sailing instructor and noted mountain climber we’d met in the Azores when he and his partner Marina were homeward bound after two seasons of charter work in Antarctica and southern Chile. “Cape Horn is the Mount Everest of sailing.” he’d told us. “Other mountains are technically more difficult to ascend. What is hard about Everest is getting to the final base camp with all your supplies and yourself in good condition so you have the stamina for the actual assault on the summit with enough left over to safely descend once you made it there.”
With Cape Horn only 120 miles to the southwest I felt we’d made base camp. Looking back I realize the favorable wind made me say it, but once said, I was committed. “Larry, we’ll sail through the straits on tomorrows tide then I’m willing to spend as much time as we need getting around the cape. Let’s give it three or four tries and if we don’t do it now, we’ll work into the Beagle Canal and lay up there and try it again in mid-winter. But I am f…g going to get this boat around that f…g point one way or another.”
Even when we got shoved back out of the Straits of Le Maire for the second time by a screaming southerly that turned the world white around us, my determination held. It took two and a half days and three frontal systems to bash our way past the over falls and currents of the straits. We spent the next three days getting our masters degree in working a small boat to windward in extreme conditions as we tried to make the next 90 miles against two knots of current. Three times we watched the barometer drop from l025 mb to less than 980 mb, once going as low as 970 mb. Screaming southwesterly hail storms would blow for two hours to become zephyr-like northerlies for an hour then swing to a steady 45 knot southerly for the next hour or two. I apologized for laughing at Larry’s purchase of the tiny scrap of bright orange Dacron I called our toys’l as that 40 square foot flat cut sail teamed with our triple reefed main to keep Taleisin driving at five knots into square twenty foot seas. I learned to let the sheet fly just as Larry reached the staysail stay to douse even that tiny sail for the worst of the squalls that screamed in at regular intervals.
Strangely, we both came to enjoy the battle, feeling close to those men of years past who’d had to fight these same conditions on ships far less weatherly, less handy, than ours. We worked to buoy each other’s spirits with jokes, a hug, a food treat. Then on the sixth day I used our solar charged, handheld VHF radio to ask for a weather forecast from a 250-foot Argentinean fishing vessel. Its Norwegian Captain quizzed me carefully, “Are you feeling good about your boat? Do you have enough food? Hope so because these winds will grow stronger for another five days at least.”
That afternoon we ran out of propane. We hove to while Larry assessed the situation. “Valve on the new tank is leaking.” Though we had an extra tank to back up the two that normally provided six to eight weeks of cooking, we were now depending on the oven to back up our kerosene cabin heater. When the clouds cleared and Isla Nueva at the entrance to the Beagle Canal showed clearly 20 miles north of us, we both agreed, we could run short of heat, we were being crowded by bags of now wet clothes. With Cape Horn only 40 miles to the south we eased sheets to turn and reach toward the shelter of the Beagle, attempt number one behind us.
The confines of the canal, with rocks, reefs, thick kelp beds and few fully protected anchorages plus screaming williwaws interspersed with drifting calms was more intimidating, more dangerous and more challenging than the open waters we’d left. The history soaked wilds of Southern Argentina, the magnificence of Harberton Estancia, the tiny Chilean military outpost at Puerto Williams, the intrepid sailors we met, made our month long, propane forced diversion one of the highlights of our cruising life. Each day we checked for weather information, waiting for a break between closely packed low-pressure systems.
On March 11th 2002, bundled up like a teddy bear against the near freezing temperatures and 50 knot southerly wind, I walked into the Capitan del Puerto’s office at Puerto Williams to see a weather FAX printout. A potential 3 or 4-day high-pressure gap between this storm and the next two lows bunched together 800 miles to the west. If we could arrange port clearance, buy final provisions and sail out through the Beagle Canal and back to our inbound track 90 miles in total, we’d find southeast winds to round the Horn.
“Got to go tomorrow at first light,” Larry said as we computed the tides. “In fact, I’d like to leave at 0400 before the tide turns.”
“This storm isn’t going to ease off before tomorrow night,” I said.
“It’ll be on the beam for the first 40 miles. After that islands will be only l5 miles upwind until we get south of the cape, they’ll break the seas down. If we wait we’ll have to fight headwinds all the way down. Might be too light to beat the east going current. It was over 2 knots the last time.”
A full gale drove snow flurries and hail stones across our deck as the survivors from the previous nights farewell party, including the crew from the well known sail training yacht, Alaska Eagle helped us cast off our lines and wished us a fine farewell.
Never have we set sail in such unfavorable feeling conditions. Never have I been more impressed with Larry’s determination and stamina. For 16 hours he hand steered Taleisin through rock strewn channels, urging her through short steep seas as squalls swept down through mountain gullies, short tacking right to the edges of kelp beds, calling down to me, “How close can we go, any rocks in this kelp? Can I take this lift?” He drove with all the intensity of his days as a racing skipper while I plotted our position, handed up hot drinks and baked potatoes to warm his hands. Every hour or so I’d come on deck to helm while he went below to warm up and relieve himself. “Boy do I envy your plumbing,” he joked when he came back after searching through four layers of clothes to reach his. “At least you don’t have to grab yourself with icy cold hands!”
By dark we had sailed clear of the brutal wave swept rocks and desolate islands of Nassau Bay. When I’d come below for my second off watch, winds had dropped to 30 knots and cape Horn lay less than 15 miles to windward. In spite of the weather predictions, I hadn’t really believed we’d have light, fair winds for our rounding. Then Larry woke me.
March l3th 2002, 1600, Cape Horn aft of the starboard beam, I wrote in our log. It had taken years for Larry to infect me with his dream. Now I’d felt the fever and the wonders of reaching that dream. As we sailed gently past this sleeping monster and into the Pacific I also felt a tremendous sense of relief. Though we had a thousand miles of potentially storm tossed seas ahead, I realized I’d wake each and every morning of my life knowing I no longer had to sail around Cape Horn.
Our fair winds continued for 5 ½ days during which we sailed due west for 250 miles then northwest by west for 370 more, always keeping 120 to 140 miles off the Chilean coast even though these favorable winds tempted us to take the rhumb line course to get north faster. The cold plus heavy cloud presented our main challenges. But with patience Larry got shots of the sun most days. Then we found our real Cape Horn storm 20 miles after we crossed 50°S. For 2 ½ days we lay hove to under trysail, as northwest winds blew a steady 50, screaming higher in gusts. We lost 40 miles to the southeast and, as we had only 100 miles between us and the rocks of Chile, reached due west as soon as the wind eased to regain our offing. Fourteen hours later the next storm roared in from the northwest and by midnight was blowing steadily above force 12 according to later reports. An 86-foot British ketch sailed out of the Trinidad Canal during the break between the two storms. During the second storm it was 90 miles east of us. In Puerto Montt her skipper said, “Fifty knots is okay. But 70, that’s just too much!” It is the first time we have had to reef our storm trysail. Though we did ship some solid water, we never felt threatened. Taleisin, the wonderful little ship Lyle Hess designed, brought us through with only 5 broken drinking glasses and a broken wind vane frame, a gear failure Larry blames on his own heavy-handedness when he was shortening down the vanes Dacron cover during the worst of our screaming 50′s storm.
Five Routes Round the Bottom
For some it is the lure of the ultimate sailing challenge, Cape Horn; to others it’s the adventure of navigating thousands of miles of only partially charted Chilean Canals; others seek a different route from ocean to ocean. Each year perhaps 20 crews try to decide which route to take, the Straits of Magellan, the Beagle Canal, Afuera (outside as the Chileans call the route we chose), the inside route all the way to the Gulf of Ancud or the outside route into the Pacific from Canal Trinidad north or south bound. None offer easy sailing.
South of 45°S, frontal passages with winds up to hurricane force and lows of 980 mb or even 970 mb are a weekly (and sometimes daily) occurrence with highs of l030 mb right behind to compress the isobars and increase the westerly winds. The lack of landmass means nothing to alleviate the force of the weather systems. The abrupt collision of huge masses of moving air against the sheer walls of the Andes plus extreme temperature gradients between mountain-top glaciers and sun warmed pampas create williwaws of renown. The Captain of the Argentinean pilot boat working from Ushuaia greeted us by saying, “Welcome to Tierra del Fuego where all the lies about the weather are true!”
New Zealanders, Noel and Litara Barrott who we met at Puerto Williams, have sailed extensively in extreme latitudes on board Sina, a glorious 53 foot ketch. “This is far than cruising to Iceland or Greenland.” Noel said. “There you can almost always find ten days of fair weather for the relatively short passages. Fuel and repair assistance is available in dozens of fishing villages. Down here, only place to get work done is Mar del Plata, then you are on your own until Valdivia.”
Only one port north of Punta Arenas has a guaranteed fuel supply, Puerto Natales, so to go north inside you need either a very handy boat that can short tack into gale and storm force winds for 1000 miles, or a complete dependable engine and large fuel capacity. Once committed to the inside route, chances to change your mind and get out into the open ocean are 300 miles apart. The cold, combined with strong winds means a reliable cabin heater, plus generous supply of appropriate clothing are essential which ever route you choose.
Even sailing southbound inside the canals with favorable winds presents serious challenges. The Chilean Canals, have one of the wettest climates in the world, with snow, rain or drizzle at least 320 days a year. Thick fog, tidal currents of up to 9 knots, thick weed (kelp) both in the canals and in potential anchorages and fierce williwaws (locally called Rachas) are common. You need superb ground tackle and spare anchors. To enjoy the adventures described by the late Bill Tilman, you have to leave your boat to climb through bird and wildlife filled rain forests and trek across pristine glaciers. To do this safely you’ll need the gear to cuddle among the rocks and secure to trees on shore.
Most sailors by-pass the shorter route through the Straits of Magellan in favor of the Beagle Canal for good reasons; the chance for a side trip down through the windswept Wollaston islands to Cape Horn itself, time to experience these isolated, legendary waters in the far dryer climate found south and east of the Andes, plus tying at the Yacht Club Micalvi on the sunken Naval supply ship at Puerto Williams, a place we’ll never forget.
Crossing the continental shelf into the relatively shallow Drake Canal can be problematical for the occasional voyagers who go outside from the Pacific to the Atlantic. Depths change from 4000 meters to 119 meters in less than ten miles south of Isla Diego Ramirez the main navigation light for approaching the horn. The Cape Horn current collides against the high underwater cliffs to create upwelling which, combined with storm driven northwesterly swells turn into seriously dangerous waves. Most of the yacht knockdowns and roll overs we read about occurred in the Pacific approaches to the Drake Canal. ( We chose to cross the continental shelf 30 miles northwest of Diego Ramirez where the sounding change is more gradual for this reason as the chartlet shows.)
According to the Chilean Armada (Navy) and our own research, the only other yachts to go Afuera, Atlantic to Pacific, over the past ten years were the 65 and 74 footers built for the British challenge race created by sir Chay Blyth. As this route lies away from the steep-sided Andes, it is not subjected to the williwaws of the canals and is far less humid, even in the Pacific. During our passage 45°S to 45°S we had four days out of five with dry weather. With modern forecasts it is possible to choose good weather to sail past the Horn itself by waiting in the Beagle Canal. The most difficult aspect of this passage is resisting the temptation to use these favorable winds to immediately make northing. The safest choice is to go west, gaining every mile of offing between you and a 1000 mile stretch of one of the most inhospitable lee shores in the world before the next northwesterly storm arrives. And arrive it will.
Rarely are there more than five or six days between the succession of low pressure systems that circle Antarctica. Each low brings the screaming westerly winds we met after we had crossed 79°W and had the safety of 120 miles of open water between us and the cruel rocky shores of southwest Chile.
Refit and Reprovision
”We’re at the top of our game right now,” Larry said. “We’re both in fine health. Taleisin’s in top condition. I spliced up new standing rigging a year ago, sails are in great shape. Each year we wait means everything’s wearing and aging.”
I had to agree. Taleisin incorporated the best ideas we’d used and refined on her little sister Seraffyn, plus more we’d gained by sailing enough miles to have circled the globe five or six times. She was ready to cross the Atlantic. Our spring refit list had only a few maintenance items on it.
Then Larry mentioned “to make it round the horn have to sail hard to windward and be ready to set more sail quickly any time we get a break.” Hard to windward, his words rang in my mind. Heeled, smashing into head seas. I added three more items to our spring refit list, lee clothes forward, more handholds aft, seal the chain pipe.
“Could take some pretty heavy seas on board if we got a southerly gale after we round Old Horny,” he said. “Wouldn’t want to heave to unless we really had to.” Running in heavy seas, water sweeping across the flush cockpit to smash against the drop boards. Three more items to keep water from finding its way below went on the work list, new gaskets on the port lights, improve fit of drop boards, hatch securing lock.
By the time we headed south from Mar del Plata we’d gone through three lists and spent over 40 days plus $3500 extra above our normal yearly maintenance budget on upgrades and special provisions. From then until we reached Isla Guafo in Chile, we blessed every improvement, large or small.
Special upgrades included: removable rope handholds on the cabin top. Larry drilled holes in the wooden dinghy chocks and used the brass handholds on the cabin back to hold a 3/8″ diameter line which ran right across the back of the cabin outside the drop boards and forward within a foot of the mast.
Running jib stay -We did not want the windage of a rolled sail at the end of the bowsprit, nor the worry of it accidentally unfurling when we had to lay hove to in storm force winds our route promised (and delivered). The success of our voyage required changing sails quickly to take advantage of any light winds we got (we have sail power only.) We needed to set flat cut storm sails to keep going to windward in serious winds. So Larry built an inhaul, outhaul system with a car on a track so that once the halyard is eased, the whole jib stay with sail attached slides in along the bowsprit so the sail can be handled completely on deck. This is similar to the system used by British cutters at the turn of the century, but we also wanted a fully tensioned stay, so added an L shaped tack connection that works as a 2 l/2:l lever as the halyard is winched up tight. This required some research and development as we sailed south from Virginia to Mar del Plata. Refined and rehearsed we found we could have our 350square foot-working jib down, off the stay and stowed in 3 or 4 minutes, even in squally winds and steep seas.
Companionway hatch lock – We added a bronze U, inset under the sliding hatch to keep it from being forced forward by heavy seas. This can be easily opened from inside or outside the boat. It kept the hatch closed during rough broad reaching conditions when water did occasionally crash into the cockpit.
Non-skid cabin sole – Through the years our edge-grained bare teak cabin sole boards gained a silky but slippery feeling. Larry used a belt sander and 60 grit-sanding belts to re-surface every board. They did feel odd and rough to my bare feet at first. Three hundred miles south bare feet became a distant memory and I blessed the firm footing.
Reef in the storm trysail – Never before had this 90 square foot, sail overpowered the boat. But in the worst blow, 80-knot gusts made even this flat cut sail pump and shake the rig. Larry tied in the new reef I’d previously scoffed at. With only 45 square feet of sail, Taleisin lay hove to so well we didn’t feel the need to set our sea anchor though these conditions persisted for another l2 hours.
The best purchases we made included two new sails, a replacement for our 670 square foot l-½ ounce nylon drifter and a 9 ounce, 40 square foot bright orange storm jib which was cut to work on the head stay or on the staysail stay. We used one or the other of these for half of your sailing south of 50.
Knee high, slit soled sea boots – with kick plates on the heel for easy removal. Cost? Less than $40.00 They were perfect Their high, stiff tops let us slide our foul weather pants down around the boots so we could store boots and pants ready to jump into, right next to the companionway.
Fisherman’s rubber gloves – large enough for knit gloves inside. We had a pair of brand name, so called waterproof, breathable sailing gloves but found they soon became water logged and difficult to dry out.
Treats – inducing a generous supply of fancy bottled, canned and pressure packed gourmet foods like peaches in Marsala wine, and surprise gifts. The extreme conditions and times when we couldn’t keep to our normal watch patterns and get full rest, meant moral boosters really mattered.
The Confetti – it added a bright spot of celebration to lighten the mood of passing over these ghost-ridden waters.