Monday 21 January
Today started quite calm, but during breakfast the wind really picked up and at one point was gusting up to 60 knots. Susan our expedition leader kept making announcements for us to standby for further information about the landing at Cooper Bay in the morning and Drygalsky Sound in the afternoon. We spent the morning drinking tea and venturing out onto the bow of the ship to view the wild life. The wind was fairly howling, at one point the wind just about blew me across the deck. Found a spot to wedge myself in and lasted about 20 minutes outside. We saw a light mantel sooty albatross and a few macaroni penguins, also lots of unidentifiable little birds.
Scobie gave a talk about his time in South Georgia and Antarctica. This gave us some time to wait out the wind but this was to no avail and we had to cut our losses and head for the Antarctic Peninsula. Ewen headed out to the rear deck, but it was nice and cosy in the cabin. The sea was looking pretty rough.
Good view of some of the glaciers along the south eastern end of South Georgia.
By late afternoon, the sea was still fairly rough. Abandoned listening to one talk and headed for the cabin to find the ”travel calm”. Enjoyed dinner and the conversation, Lee and Wren(nicknamed “bird man” from Seattle, Scobie (a seasoned expeditioner) and Kathryn (geologist turned singer with a passion for boats and the outdoors. Resorted to more heavy duty meds at bedtime and slept like a top.
Tuesday 22 January
No call from Susan the expedition leader this morning, apparently there is none on sea days. The only way I can keep track of the days is by writing the diary.
This morning’s lectures, one by Alex on the geology of the region and the movement of the tectonic plates, the second on Cetaceans by John. Both were very good but again started to doze off in the middle of the second one. We have been trying to walk after meals; there are several levels on the boat, so we are convincing ourselves if the climb as many steps as we can find and investigate all the corridors we can claim to have done some exercise. Ewen has now taken a nap.
Movie after dinner and then down to the Polar Bear Bar
Wednesday 23 January
Another day at sea. Lectures, more movies and food, and lots of fog and ice
Geology lecture by Alex, Movie contrasting Scott and Shackleton.
Mid expedition test. We named our team “Odd man in”, Ewen and his female dinner companions from our night in Ushuaia. We were quite pleased with our win and the 2 bottles of champagne,( not everyone was happy with our result.)
Thursday 24 January
It was good to get off the boat today. Zodiac cruise around the end of Elephant Island (Point Wild) where Shackleton’s men spent 4 months waiting for him to return to rescue them.
Had to rug up well today -1 deg C and snowing. Three layers of wool, a polar fleece and heavy duty waterproof. It was quite an exercise boarding the zodiacs due to a heavy swell. Alex took us out the island, chin strap penguins, macaronis, fur seals and Weddell seals. Broken ice on top of the water, steep rock escarpment and glacier with cracks, blue iceberg.
Lunch was most welcome, needed hot food to warm up. Lunched with the engineers from Queensland. They belonged to the slide rule generation too.
Tabular iceberg competition (guess the weight of the iceberg) – Ewen just missed out on another bottle of champagne.