Into the fog

64° 01 minutes South, 147° 11 minutes East.


Adelie penguins on floe

We are further north and further east than we were yesterday, although we were just drifting for about 24 hours. The captain started the motor early in the morning to avoid drifting too close to the icebergs.

I had the best nights sleep of the entire trip last night, to the extent that I forgot I was on a boat. Most of the other passengers are reporting the same thing.

Yesterday afternoon the bar was decorated with Christmas decorations and overnight the same to the dining rooms.

Fog surrounds the ship and visibility is down to about 200 metres. Within the area we can see there is no ice. Rodney has decided to head north to the Auckland Islands and so the engines have just been started. This gives the crew something to do. Rodney had originally planned leaving here on 20 December, so this means either we get to the Aucklands a day early or we are going to head there a bit slower. We have not set foot on land since 12 December and won’t set foot on land until 24 or 25 December. This 12-13 day stint at sea will be three times longer than anything on the original program and the length of time at sea that would have stopped me from booking the trip.

The day’s program  consists of a lecture on the Ross Sea, which we didn’t get to, a lecture on whales, which we haven’t seen and the start of a seven part dramatisation on some other expedition to Antarctica. I think this is a DVD and not a live dramatisation by the staff as that would constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

So we start the slog. Once we clear the ice and are in open ocean there will be nothing to see except the vast expanse of ocean for 4-5 days. We will also leave the “Screaming Sixties” which have been gratefully passive and back into the “Furious Fifties” and “Roaring Forties”, so the journey should get rougher and may well see Club Mal de Mare opening for business again.

I have 15 hours of podcasts and 15 hours of movies left. If I only have to last until Auckland Island I can watch 5-6 hours a day, which may be enough to stave off madness. We’ll see.

The morning cruising out of the ice was punctuated by calls from the bridge of sightings of seals and penguins but these soon became less frequent. People took to toasting the last iceberg and when another subsequently appeared they toasted it as the last instead.

Iceberg with holes

About half way thru the day I came across a temporary cure for madness, I would engage myself in a project.

I decided to film everyone on the boat miming to Rod Stewart’s song “I am sailing”. I announced the intention at the start of one of the lectures and had an enthusiastic response. The highlight so far has been the chefs thrashing out the lead break on large potato mashers. I have been helped by one of the guides, Matt, who went to film school and made a documentary of his sailboat trip to Antarctica.

We still have about half the passengers and a few more of the staff to film tomorrow, and the captain has agreed to have his officers of the bridge to sing along.

It will then take a day or two to edit and hopefully be ready before we make the Auckland Islands.

With a bit of luck it will keep me sane until we reach land.

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