Day four of the voyage and by all accounts we’ve been lucky with the weather as we steadily make our way across the Southern Ocean. But we’ve crossed from the ‘roaring forties’ into the ‘furious fifties’ latitudes and tomorrow’s forecast looks a bit more ominous. The words ‘rising’, ‘developing’ and ‘moving into’ appear more often than I’d prefer. There’s a possibility of actual snow, winds of up to 45 knots and seas up to 5 metres. That sounds rough to me. Thank God I’ve had a few days to get my sea legs. Last night I stuffed empty bags and unworn clothes under the outside edge of my bunk mattress to create an inward facing slope and reduce the risk of falling out in the night. I think I might shove a few more layers in there tonight.
At this stage of the voyage one of the hazards for some passengers is boredom, which I hadn’t expected. The ship moves up and down, the view outside doesn’t change much, the novelty of endless time to read, watch movies, plus being fed huge meals every few hours wears off a bit. I’m very glad to be working and to have a sense of purpose. Some of my companions are chafing a bit.
I have a very nautical workspace that I love – in Lab number 3, where no one else seems to be working. I sit up at the high wooden bench on my stool, the porthole at my right with an inky blue ocean moving past, funny looking tubes and taps and copper wires around me, strips of Velcro stuck to the desk to keep things in place. There’s lovely light in this room and it’s big – surely someone will soon come to claim it? But for now it seems to be mine alone. I managed to have a good writing day yesterday, which was a relief. As I lay groaning in my bunk on the first two days there seemed a strong possibility that I’d be unable to look at a screen for the whole trip.
We’re going backwards in time zones too – taking off an hour every two days. It’s a fairly indoors existence at the moment, so time zones seem quite artificial anyway, and their main function is to mark mealtimes. This morning I’m joining in navigation training – not a necessity for me as a round tripper, but I thought it would be an interesting skill. The Vestfold Hills, where Davis Station is located, have large ice free areas and lots of walks, so I really hope to get out and about during the ten days I’m visiting there.
Feel free to email me – it’s nice to get news from home during this part of the voyage in particular. Just remember to use my shipboard address: jesse.blackadder and keep emails below 30kb.
Love from the Southern Ocean xxx