29th and 30th December 2016
Dr Jelte’s patch kept any sickness at bay for the crossing, but made me incredibly sleepy. I didn’t make it to even one meal on the first day and only briefly to lunch and dinner on the second, although I only ate a few bites before heading off again. Poor Marijke told me later she was getting quite worried that I’d never get going. She was really lovely, checking on me and even brought in chamomile tea and biscuits on the first day. I did get up briefly, but really the first day was a write-off. I wasn’t the only one though, the ship was almost deserted apparently and the dining room seemed vast with only a few hardy souls showing up for meals.
Second day was slightly better, we had to attend a mandatory IAATO briefing in the morning on dos and don’ts of Antarctica followed by a visit to the boot room to collect our high waterproof boots. Later in the day was vacuuming, yes vacuuming! We had to take all our outer clothing to the lounge and vacuum it all. This is to minimize the risk of introducing foreign plant and pest material in an attempt to keep Antarctica as free from our contamination as possible. After seeing this place for myself, I was more than happy to do whatever was required to keep it safe.
I missed some great talks during these 2 days, from Andrew on the Antarctic convergence, Bruce the photography guy and Louise the kayaking guide who are also very knowledgable on birds, Mal, one of the mountaineers, and Marijke on penguins. The biggest disappointment was to find I’d missed some really great whale action as well. There were around 30 whales, maybe more, spread out across the ocean; for about 45 minutes they were bubble net feeding, showing their tail flukes and even half-breaching. Such a shame, but I’m sure there’ll be more as the days go by.
My lack of photos on these 2 days tell the story better than anything else, only one taken for 2 days!!!