St Peter and St Paul Rocks were rounded at 8.35am AEDST, Friday 19th January, 2001 when Solo Globe Challenger inched her way to the northern side of the rocks in the absolute grip of the doldrums. We approached the rocks in a light following breeze managing to squeeze 3-4 knots of boat speed, but alas it fell dark whist we were 3 miles short, so we bobbed and drifted for hours in darkness and showers of rain with the flash of the light to keep us company. I was extremely tired (matchsticks in the eyelids job) and worried about drifting in too close as we were about 1 mile off at the closest.
There was a boat anchored (presumably fishing). We flashed torches at each other, I let out a few "Cooee's" and "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie's", we tried to talk on the radio but they could only speak Spanish and my limit is "Peso" and "Madrid", so that really didn't get off the ground.
Seriously, though, rounding the rocks to me was a buzz similar to rounding the Horn (not as big of course). I didn't realise how much mystique the place held for me since having first read about it in Kay Cottee's book. I spent a long time just staring at the comforting flash of the light, as this was the first lighthouse I have seen at night on the trip. I also thought about the fact that every mile we do from now on brings me nearer to home.
The waters abound with marine life, as there is a sanctuary in place. Yesterday morning I was tracked by a pod of about 12 whales. They weren't your huge variety but big enough, black all over with a curved dorsal fin. Does anyone care to take a guess at the breed? Pilot maybe? They came really close to the boat, within 2 metres on a couple a occasions. They are so beautiful.
We now have a 2,450 mile leg back down to Tristan da Cunha Island Group and I am trying to get south a.s.a.p. to escape the doldrums. Once we reach Tristan da Cunha it's all Eastward Ho!