Stuck SEC=UNCLASSIFIED

It’s been snowing a lot this morning and we haven’t moved for an hour or more now. The engines are revving away and up on the bridge it’s all very serious. There are all sorts of manoeuvres, I see, when you’re trying to get the ship through thick ice – such as keeping still when you get stuck and using the engines to blow the ice away behind you, so when you do back up you’ve got a clear space. But there’s a lot of walking around and peering out the windows going on upstairs and not much (or any) movement. We’re still about 500km away from Davis, and people are starting to look at the ETA (estimated time of arrival) sweep with a lot more interest.

It’s quite beautiful outside, especially if you enjoy shades of white. There’s white sea ice in every direction, white icebergs scattered around the place. The sky is a slightly darker shade of white and lovely fat white snowflakes are drifting down. And guess what – they really do come in those amazing shapes you see on Christmas wrapping paper!

My GPS training was fun – how have I got to 47 without using one of those things? They’re great. We learned how to use them and how to find places on the map from the coordinates, and vice versa, and then we dressed up and went outside and used the GPS to mark the spot where we were and look up how much further to Davis, and then check how far we’d moved while doing the exercise. Earlier in the week the ship was moving about 2km in the time taken to do it all, but today it moved the grand total of 21.5 metres, according to my unit. There’s a computer on the bridge that shows the course and estimates the time of arrival at Davis. At the current rate, we expect to arrive on 27 February 2012.

Meanwhile downstairs we had pecan pie to finish up lunch. I’m off for a tour of the engine room next. I’m still creeping around being the ship’s paparazzi. Some people are completely avoiding me now, as I asked Voyage Leader Sharon to send an email around letting people know I would be taking pictures and they could refuse if they wanted. A nice courtesy, but of course they are all forewarned now, so I have to be more devious to catch them unawares. I also have lots of photos of little black dots in the snow. Everyone on the bridge has the same photos, except for the our resident professional photographer Tue de Roy, who has photos in which you can actually distinguish penguins and seals, not just blurry little black spots. She has a lense that’s about 60 cm long with a built in handle to help her carry it around. I’d love one of them too…

Ciao

Jesse xxx

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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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2 Responses to Stuck SEC=UNCLASSIFIED

  1. Sharon Dean says:

    Love your description of the snowflakes, Jesse. And good luck reaching your destination before Christmas! XX

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