We’re making excellent progress again, after some very good circle work in the thick pack ice yesterday plus a bit of drag racing with the Russian icebreaker. We’re steaming steadily through fairly thin ice towards Davis with an ETA of tonight or tomorrow morning. Me, Karen, Jacky and Louise togged up and went on the forecastle (fo’csle) this morning – check the webcam, you might see us lined up and waving if you’re lucky. It was beautiful – white on white, no horizon visible, the ship gliding over the ice. But it was also minus eight, and with wind chill it was minus twenty – almost edging towards a ‘Freezing Cold’ on the index. To my mind ‘Bitterly’ says it better though. Freezing just means zero to most people after all. And yes, when the ship edged around so we were in the wind, bitterly was the word that sprang to mind. There’s a fair bit of snow lying around, but it’s so powdery and fine that my efforts to start a snow fight only resulted in a snow fall. I took another photo of a miniscule slug-shaped blob against an expanse of white to add to my growing collection – rivaled only by the shots of distant almond-shaped blobs. I hope the chances for viewing seals and penguins improve as we get nearer.
Then I went back inside, divested myself of the many layers and headed up the bridge. Within a few minutes I was outside on the deck by the bridge taking photos, just in a fleece. Thought I was quite tough until another guy came out in jeans and a flapping t-shirt and stood in the wind to take some photos, his flesh visible in the breeze. We passed a seal very close and I was able to get a shot in which I could actually identify it as an animal – very exciting.
But in fact my photographic efforts for the past days have been focused on my ship mates and wonderful subjects they have proven. I’ve worked on black and white portraits to capture moments of ship life, and once we get to Davis I may be able to put them on the web. I only have today left to sneak up on those people who’ve managed to evade me so far. Fortunately the feedback on the photos has been positive, with lots of requests for copies, and so far no one seems to be feeling stalked.