After writing my blog last night I headed up to the bridge. It was quite windy and the light was just magical outside – a stormy sky, good visibility, a forest of big icebergs standing a few kilometers around us and a strip of pink under the cloud on the far horizon, outlining blue iceberg shapes. It all looked dramatic and Tui (the photographer) came in from outside with an awed smile on her face.
All of a sudden, it seemed, the wind was blowing very hard, making the water dark and ruffled, and some swells were starting. We were moving over grease ice at the time – think of the look and texture of a margarita, slushy and quite soft – and the waves were rolling along under that ice, making it move up and down in soft ripples that looked amazing. Then we moved off the ice to a large patch of clear water. As soon as we were there, the swells got a lot bigger, pushed by the wind.
Uh oh. I know this feeling. The bridge started moving up and down. Louise and Karen came up to see why their forecast increase in wind speed was happening early, and then Karen started looking a bit pale. Oh no! The illusion that I had my sea legs was just that – an illusion. I started feeling queasy immediately. Had to scamper down 56 stairs to my office and pack up my computer and camera gear which was scattered all over the bench, and then scamper back to the cabin (past people waltzing in the corridors, one-two-three, one-two-three to keep their balance), swallow a phenergan and get to bed. Karen, poor thing, couldn’t even keep her phenergan down.
As the body memory kicked in and I found myself tensing up, I had a very physical understanding that my two week voyage home isn’t far off – at least Louise has six months away from the ship before she has to face the seasickness again. And right now there’s a big low pressure system out there somewhere in the Southern Ocean with ten metre waves, which would make our one rough night on the trip look like a picnic.
Fortunately we were back in ice within an hour or so and I could get to sleep. Woke up (very groggy) this morning, late for my 7am iceberg obs (and never mind getting up for a gym workout, which I’ve done the past few days). Pulled on my clothes and headed up and there it was – land. We’re sitting in pack ice surrounded by icebergs and there’s a line of rocky hills off to one side. We’re only 10 nautical miles (say 18km or so) from Davis.
The bridge is now closed as the captain pushes the ship right up into the ‘fast ice’ until it’s thick enough to bear the weight of the cargo unloading (I think it needs to be about 1.5 metres) and then we will have arrived.