62°31’69.00″W Cuverville Island, Antarctica
This is certainly not a journey for the faint hearted and I think we have
all had our moments of weakness. Mine was climbing up the summit of
Cuverville. The expedition leader F.M.G ( this name is abbreviated from
the M G is mountain goat so you can guess what the rest is ) was tripping
up ahead and when we reached the top we were discussing how ‘Failing is
not Bailing” and that success should not be defined as reaching the top for
a few brief minutes but the getting there. It was tough climbing up
through the soft snow on snow shoes. The ice had got into my boots and my feet were slowly freezing…. no not slowly, rapidly freezing. It’s
also that every time you get wet you know that it will take two days to
dry out the clothes if you’re lucky!
Its an unusual group of people who are prepared to go through a lot of
discomfort for that moment of stunning natural beauty. Charlie (the first
mate in flip flops) once hid for two hours in a hole that he couldn’t move
in to stay in Patagonia National park to watch the sunrise and calving of
the glacier. Last night we had a number of ‘calving episodes’ The
thunder rolls and ice crashes down and mini tsunami waves roll.
BTW Charlie has now succumbed to sneakers but he is still wearing them like flip flops and has a hole at the heel of one of his two socks! Photos to
follow. And speaking of photos to follow we had our Polar Swim. There was a brief window of opportunity when the sun shone. This is not a Swedish sauna type dive in to a frozen lake and then a long sauna and shower afterwards, but boy was it invigorating. We got photos of us drying in the sun while the penguins looked on. I think we have our cover photo there and guess who is the centrefold? I just can’t decide whether to photoshop it or go for authenticity and leave it as it is. Bearing in mind that we haven’t had a shower for two weeks and there are no razors on board!
We arrived back to the boat where Henk was barbecuing the rest of Flossie, the lamb which has been hanging over the stern of the boat getting salted and tenderized. Delicious! Later when we came back from climbing around the penguins Henk chopped off some of the bubbly ice and a few gin and tonics were downed…. Not quite like the gin and tonics in the sailing club!
I’m not sure that we brought enough socks with us. You wear
them three at a time and each time we go out there’s always that little
bit of ice that gets into your boots and it takes two days to dry them out
properly. I hope Bob and Barbara don’t mind me using their hot tub when I get back on Christmas day while they’re eating their Christmas dinner.
It’s a lot colder this year, chicks haven’t hatched yet and I just heard
Henk say to Laurent. “I’m not so sure about our progress. A couple of
the cruise ships have not been able to get into anchorages because of the
ice blocking them out. I can’t remember if I wrote about the earlier
anchorage where we ‘just ‘ edged out and the big ship was pacing along the edges waiting for the ice breaker to come along. Henk just added that he was worried about our water tanks icing up.
We managed to dropped into a Chilean base camp. To quote Max (and you
have to put on a slow drawling Italian accent) “Basically it is two houses
surrounded by penguin shit.” and believe me penguin shit does not smell
But more of that in the next blog.