Friday, December 30, 2011

Antarctica Day 9: The Full Wrath of Mother Nature

“Men wanted for hazardous journey, small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in case of success.”

--- Sir Ernest Shackleton

The Drake Passage laughed at us as he showed us who is the real Boss. We were his quivering bitches that is for sure. We were about to discover what 40 hours of being a human pinball and there was nothing we could do about it, was all about.

Through the night I was tossed around pretty good but still managed to get some sleep. I woke up at 630, drank a quick coffee with only spilling it twice and headed to the bridge. The seas were rolling pretty good but nothing serious. The captain said we were at a force 4 and we could expect a force 8 by dinner time. I have to tell you I was more than intrigued by that. I spent the better part of the day lounging around, eating and more lying around. I think I saw the lazy lives of the Weddell seals and decided to copy it. Sleep, eat, sleep, poop swim and eat. However there is that constant fear of getting eaten by Orca that they have going for them.

I went back to the bridge at 500 pm because in the bar it was getting chaotic and we were bouncing around pretty damn good. The swells were getting to 10 metres. That is 30 feet. They were coming from the left and you could see them growing before they hit. Now I absolutely respect the power of the southern ocean. To stand on the bridge and see these swells come at you from the distance is over powering. I tried to take some pictures and videos but they will never do it any justice.
The captain and two crew members were just hanging on the bridge doing thier thing. They showed no fear or emotions so that made me man up a little because I was just about to start to get nervous. Bah, kidding this was awesome!

Around 10:00 pm there was about 30 minutes of “what the hell” as the ocean switched gears and took it to a new level. It was not time to find my happy place because our little boat of steel was getting battered and us along with it.
The immediate look in many eyes had gone from excitement and fun to a small sense of “this is pretty serious shit” and "holy crap that last wave was huge".  We were paying for our sin of cockiness. Again I saw the crew smiling so I just went with that. This steel gal has been through this and worse many times before. I think a little fear crept into a few who suddenly turned shades of white and or green and rushed off to bed.

The notorious Drake has flexed its muscles and has our undivided attention.

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