Somewhere in the Southern Ocean

62° 23 minutes South 141° 48 minutes East

Antarctic Petrel

“Good morning everyone, good morning” although Gemma’s dulcet tones are sweet to the ear, the repetitious nature of the morning announcements makes me think I am living in the movie “Groundhog Day”.

The boat is relatively calm now, but we had a few rough patches overnight.  We were pitching and rolling, so I was sliding across the bed as well as up and down. Occasionally there would be a big thud and the boat would shudder.

The plot of the ship’s course now looks like a one-legged man with Parkinsons trying to piss his name in the snow in cursive text.

The program announces today as a “True Expedition Day”, in other words we have absolutely no idea what we are doing.

It reads like this:

  • Breakfast
  • Expedition Activities – listen for announcements
  • Lunch
  • Expedition Activities – listen for announcements
  • Dinner

The only announcement yesterday was about a brown stain of whale food passing by. Who knows what untold excitement today will bring.

Several people have written poems and stuck them to the noticeboard. This was a nice informal gesture that someone has decided to fuck up by organising a formal poetry competition/recital night.

Rodney has just come over the PA to announce the activities for the day and it is all lectures. He doesn’t anticipate any chance to get off the boat until tomorrow morning at the earliest. (I think that is still optimistic).

The rough ride earlier this morning came from trying to head into a strong westerly. Rodney was still trying to find the South Magnetic Pole and discovered it was still over 100nm south west of our position at the time and it would have been impossible to push through the ice against the westerly.

We have now turned around and are retracing our steps back to the point where we first turned west.

The day has been completely uneventful, at least for me. Apparently we passed a spectacular iceberg and actually circumnavigated it. This would have been wonderful for those on deck, but there was no announcement that this was being done. They seem to use the PA to announce every other trivial thing in a couple of languages, but failed to notify us of the most exciting thing to happen all day.

Rodney did his usual end of day speil in the bar, although thankfully avoided  updating  the bird list. He estimates we will be back at the point that we left the ice by about 0600 tomorrow morning. If it is possible to enter the ice there will be a wake up call and then maybe the possibility of launching the zodiacs. This will depend on the wind dropping, which has been forecast. Call me a fussy old bastard, but if we do manage to launch the zodiacs at the same spot we did last time, won’t we just be cruising around the same fucking iceberg looking at the same fucking penguins?

Iceberg thru ships hole

Although Rodney was not ready to commit beyond tomorrow, he did countenance the idea of heading north a few days earlier than planned. He spoke about getting permits for the islands from DOC, which means he is contemplating going to some New Zealand islands. Whether this is just revisits to already visited islands, an extended stay at Auckland Island or some other islands is not known yet.

There has just been an announcement that there are two spectacular icebergs coming up that we are going to circumnavigate. Wow. Something is actually happening and I can participate.

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