The Weddell Sea

For the last few days we’ve been trying to find a route through the sea ice toward our destination. As we’ve got further south (now at 71° south) we’ve been ploughing through quite thick ice, but there comes a point, even for this ship where it gets stuck and beats a retreat As you can see from the navigation monitor our progress has been somewhat haphazard, going around giant icebergs and finding the route blocked by hard packed sea ice. We have just spent a day, only to end up back where we were.

Our wayward route!
Wind blown snow from a giant tabular iceberg

The temperature has now dropped, (-3°C) but the visibility has been poor with mist and windblown snow coming off the ice. The 50mph wind has made it bitter to stay for any period out on deck. But with the blog in mind I’ve been out there on the bow of the ship looking for wildlife…..

There are a number of different seals to see, and mostly Emperor Penguins, who aren’t really bothered by the ship, and I’m sure I saw some today that I saw yesterday………hmmmmmmmm. Occasionally though we see a lone penguin in the foulest conditions miles from anywhere…..

Antarctic Petrel
Crab Eater Seal and Southern Giant Petrel
Elephant Seal
A lonely Emperor Penguin

I wouldn’t want to be a penguin……….

The Journey Continues; Iceberg Ahoy!

We have all spent the last 4 days coming to terms with the routine of the ship.

Mostly this revolves around meal times; up for breakfast (7-8am), a bit of a read or watch a film, then lunch (12-1.30). After lunch its an hour in the gym and a bit more reading and then onto dinner at 6pm.

The gym

This routine though is nicely broken up with the occasional first aid talk from the doctor, or if you are on “gash” duty: involving 3 of us on a rota (so it comes around every 6 days) helping out in the kitchen and with general duties. Everything of course on board has to be “shipshape”. The steward is extremely particular and doesn’t like to see: (quote) “slack gash” on the ship.

This makes the day go a lot quicker, and makes you appreciate how hard the Chefs and Steward work all the time.

Today we had our fist iceberg sighting at 49 degrees south (which I’m told is quite a way north). We have to get to 75 degrees south, so there’s quite a way to go yet.

Approaching the iceberg
Passing the iceberg
The iceberg, well worn and rolled
The berg in the wake of the ship

The prospective date for reaching base is now about 24th December.

The other thing to get used to is gaining 5 hours over a period of just over a week. We have left Cape Town at GMT +2 and at Halley we will be at GMT -3, so we are getting an extra hour in bed every other day for 10 days!

Oh, hang on…….. Is that another meal bell?????