We are now in transit to the Antarctic Peninsula and will be at sea for the next 3 days. The wind has picked up significantly and the ship is swaying quite a bit. Few people are venturing outside onto the observation deck as the sea swells are coming over the bow. It is not much fun getting wet in the Antarctic, especially when you are not wearing the proper clothing.
I am also starting to feel the effects of the sea given that I did not take any sea sickness medication after leaving South Georgia. I am still able to function but if it gets any rougher than this, I won’t be well.
To give you an idea of the distance between South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula, here is our map again:
To break up this 3 day voyage we are going to attempt a landing at Shingle Cove in the South Orkney Islands (landing site #17 above). We are starting to see our first tabular icebergs and they are massive. Only 10-20% of the iceberg is above the ocean surface so I cannot imagine how big these things really are.
The ship is rocking quite a bit back and forth and it is miserable being on the observation deck.
One of our our fellow passengers told us a funny story over breakfast – while she was asleep in her silk pyjamas and with the rocking of the ship at night, she slid to one end of her bunk and hit her head, then slid down to the other of her bunk and banged her feet. Repeat. This happened several dozen times, so in frustration, she got up and changed her pyjamas which then stopped her sliding around in bed. I have to admit that was the best story I had heard on the trip so far!
It came as no suprise that it was too windy (and the waves are quite large) to attempt a zodiac landing here. We will just have to admire the South Orkney Islands from the ship. They are really beautiful – too bad we couldn’t land here as I would have loved to have spent a few hours exploring.
I am at my limit now with respect to sea sickness, so I have taken some Dramamine. I am kicking myself for not taking my sea sickness medication earlier. I really hope the Dramamine works – as I stated in a previous post that for any sea sickness medication to be effective, you need to take it before you feel ill. Fortunately, it seems to be taking the “edge” off of my nausea so I should be OK going forward. There are many passengers on board who are staying in their rooms though …
On the third day of our sailing to the Antarctic Peninsula, the seas calmed down a bit so I went outside to take a few more bird photographs. Above is the Snow Petrel and below, an image of a Cape Petrel.
The next photograph you see is not that great an image, but I am proud of it nonetheless. This bird is a Wilson’s Storm Petrel, also known as the “Jesus bird.” They are rare and extremely difficult to photograph – and when they take flight or land, they appear to “walk on water,” hence the nickname.
The air outside has gotten quite frigid, so we must be in Antarctic waters. You could go outside earlier in our voyage with a light jacket or sweater – it is now so cold, you really need your parka (or something really warm and windproof). Doesn’t surprise me about the weather though as we are now seeing many icebergs along our path. I guess we are no longer in Kansas, Dorothy …
We arrive at Snow Hill Island tomorrow. Finally, our first landing in Antarctica!
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