Another quick email to update you on our travels towards Davis Station, which we have been assured is the Riviera of the Antarctic.
Thanks to all those who asked, yes the ribs are better, but I managed to jam my left thumb in the toilet door the other night, so I have been up to the doctor again to have a little hole put in the thumb nail to let the blood under the nail drain. It is a bit sore, and looks pretty dramatic but it is ok and not broken, so that’s the main thing. I am feeling a bit accident prone and embarrassed. Hopefully I am getting everything out of the way early. So far, other than those still suffering with sea sickness, I have been the doctors only patient.
Yesterday (Wednesday) we hit our first patch of bad weather. To be honest we have had a dream run so far. Generally 2 – 3 m seas and mostly sunny days. On Wednesday it began to snow, but it is still not quite cold enough for it to accumulate on the deck yet. The wind went around to the north east and as we were basically travelling towards the west we had quite a big sea beam on and were rolling quite heavily most of the night. The seas got up to 4 – 5 m, so sleeping was a little challenging. As we headed into the low we recorded a couple of rolls in excess of 30 degrees. Four to 5 m, while sounding a lot, is still quite low compared to some of the stories we have been told by those who have done the voyage before. One of the ladies I am sharing the cabin with has been down 20 times on the ship, the other one has been twice.
Today (Thursday) we passed the same longitude as Casey which is our closest point of civilisation and we will pass about 470 nautical miles to the north. We are paralleling the sea ice, which you can see in the satellite picture below. The ship is the little green dot up in the top right hand corner of the photo.
There’s been a few bits of ice seen in the water this morning. Nothing large but it’s a good sign that we made the correct turn off when we came out of Storm Bay. We should turn into the ice on Sunday some time and then spend about 3 days bashing in as close as we can get to Davis.
Friday or Saturday we expect to cross the 60th parallel. 60 degrees south is the Antarctic equivalent of crossing the equator and involves a ceremony officiated by King Neptune. No doubt it will involve being doused in something unpleasant, but there are a lot of first timers on this voyage, so it would be churlish not to participate.
Whoohoo, I have just rushed up on deck to see our first real iceberg on the horizon and a pod of humpback whales at the same time. The big iceberg is probably as big as the ship, if not a bit bigger. Very cool. Now there are also 3 or 4 smaller icebergs in the water, probably about car to truck size.
More news soon.