64 ° 54′ 19″S
62 ° 51 ‘ 88″ W
You know when you are watching a film and everything is happy and warm and you know that there is going to be catastrophe just around the corner? We were invited to the Chilean base. 64 ° 49S 62° 51 W. It was
charming. There are 14 persons. One female nurse, the first woman on the camp ever. The two who spoke the best English were there to greet us at the dock. One Navy and one air force. They showed us the only Albino
penguin. The smell was overpowering and then they took us inside Warm, pleasant smelling with the Christmas tree they had just erected that day. They put on a spread for us,on a red table cloth was whiskey sour, coke, tea and coffee with a variety of biscuits. They told us that we were the first visitors.
We also had the opportunity to go on WIFI and I got ‘whats
apping’ my sisters . GREAT feeling. They all came in at different
times to say hello and told us how it was at camp. I got using a toilet
that flushed! and while I was as on the toilet I looked at the shower
and wondered if I’d be missed for 30 minutes or if anyone would notice.
We even got some souvenirs.
When we were returning to the boat I noticed how the ice had built up
while we were on land. We couldn’t get into the boat from our usual spot.
As always when we are pushing through the ice flow there is silence while
Henk concentrates and you can hear the engine grinding. This time there
was a different tone to the grind. The prop wasn’t turning. On
investigation the coupling between the drive shaft and the prop was loose.
..This is serious. It was a very subdued two hours while I think each
one of us was wondering if we all knew how potentially bad this was. All
you could hear was Henk below in the keel banging occasionally. Very
cramped conditions. Having to unscrew bolts, replace, try , re unscrew.
Priscilla just heard Henk mumble ‘I’m not a happy man’. My cabin was
freezing as if I had to be reminded how bad this could get. Then Max
asked what was wrong with the flush of the head. Oh no. This could one
of two things. Either there was a block of ice covering the effluent sea
cock from the outside or.. the sea cock had got frozen inside. I prayed
it was the former and indeed within 30 minutes the head was flushing
I guess you can figure from the fact that I’m writing this that eventually
the engine fired off and we moved. So much relief that we didn’t dare
clap or exclaim. Later that evening Henk admitted that he was concerned.
We saw a seal which showed multiple deep open wounds of an attack lying on an ice floe. Possibly the result of an attack of a hungry orca. There
is nothing we can do but it really hits home the rawness of nature.
This morning it’s been too windy to climb a peak so we have motored on.
Saw two seals and what looked like a baby seal with them. … The circle
A zodiac full of people came by and and numerous kayaks. They all seemed surprised to see us and were taking photos. We are all thinking how wonderful it is that we can get into the small anchorages and having a
small group as there is so much more flexibility , they are probably
feeling very sorry for us thinking that we all have to share the same
toilet.. Ah the diversity of life.
Laurent asked Pat if he was cold and he answered he was too numb to feel
the cold. Priscilla is finding all sorts of places for the toe warmers
they are currently around her neck.