The dessert bar in the mess is known as “the window of sin”. You have to pass it after you pick up your empty plate on the way to the salad bar and the hot food. If there’s a few people in line you have to stand right next to it, before you even check out the main course, and you can’t avoid seeing what tempting things are on offer. This happens twice a day. At least it’s not open at breakfast time.

It’s looking distinctly rougher outside and every now and then birds whizz pass my porthole. Dark brown ones – shearwaters? And some kind of small albatross, and a few storm petrels, looking as thought they’re having the time of their lives dipping in and out of the swells. I wonder if they ever misjudge and end up in the water? Doesn’t look like it; they seem supremely confident.

I’d like to get a better look at them. But I’ve only been up on the bridge once so far, though I did go out on the back deck this morning to watch a piece of CSIRO monitoring equipment get chucked into the water (deployed is the official term). The bridge is high on the ship – level A I think, and therefore rolls around much more than the lower levels. And there’s so much bloody horizon up there. The old seasick remedy where they tell you to look at the horizon? It doesn’t work. As a few veterans warned me beforehand.

I’m working on E-for-Eating level, which is where the mess is, and being so low on the ship it’s quite comfortable (in fact a wave just crashed into my porthole). Our cabins are on D level, which is quite nice too.

This morning’s field training was how to get a very cold unmoving person into a sleeping bag. I’m not required to attend field training, but it’s fun. However, sleeping bag training was conducted down on F-for-No-F*^!ing-Way level. There’s no windows down there. Theoretically it should be good, being low on the ship, but it feels like the bowels of hell. The two gyms are down there too. Voyage leader Sharon said when she tried out the treadmill she had to run hard uphill and then found herself racing downhill at top speed and after a few hills she had to lie on the floor to regain equilibrium and then crawl back upstairs. Apparently the rowing machine feels quite realistic. I’m going to leave the gym till we get to the pack ice and the boat stops shifting.

About Jesse Blackadder

Living at the easternmost tip of Australia on the caldera of an extinct volcano, Jesse Blackadder is a novelist, freelance writer and Doctor of Creative Arts. She is fascinated by landscapes, adventurous women and very cold places and has published three adult novels and three novels for children.
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3 Responses to Rock ‘n Rolling SEC=UNCLASSIFIED

  1. Jesse I don’t know if you’ll see this but I’m loving these updates!!!
    I clicked on the webcam but it seems to be broken … too much storming?
    xox k

  2. Kathy Holder says:

    This was very descriptive and now I’m feeling a little woozy. And the storm hasn’t even hit yet! lol

  3. Sharon Dean says:

    Hi Jesse, I’m loving your blogs. Your descriptions of the “window of sin”, “F-for-No-F*^!ing-Way level” and your voyage leader’s treadmill experience made me laugh out loud. Can’t wait for your next instalment. Sharon x

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