Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bad Weather

Everyone was feeling pretty good after a fairly successful day. Before

going to bed, I spent some time looking out the potholes at the ice

bergs and water around us. It was amazing to me the conditions in which

humankind can create an existence. I was laying in my bunk thinking

about this before I went to sleep. Note to self:

Before going to sleep, do NOT marvel on the fact that only a foot of

metal, insulation, and paneling separate you from 1500 feet of 30F water

filled with ice.

Needless to say, I did not sleep so well. About 0400 I awoke to a lot

of thuds and crushing of snow and ice. My current bunk is way forward

and about 8 feet above sea level which allows me to hear a lot of noise

of the ship carving its way around through the ice. I got up and looked

out the porthole. All I could see was snow, ice, and a strong wind. No

water to be seen. Due to my train of thought before bed, for the first

time on this trip, I became acutely aware of how bad things could get.

I didn't panic, but I was definitely uneasy about being on a boat in

Antarctic and thought about wtf I was doing here. I went to the lounge,

which is pretty much where I've been most of the time when I'm not

sleeping. I turned on the TV and switched to the channel that showed

our location and outside statistics. It was -16F with the wind chill

and the wind was blowing a steady 40 mph. I flipped between that

channel and the one with the map of our location for a bit and almost

fell asleep on the couch. I went back to bed and slept pretty good. I

guess during the night the temperature dropped to -37F with the wind

chill and the wind was blowing about 60 mph. Glad I was sleeping.

During the night, they moved ship to an ice-free patch behind island to

protect us from the wind and to wait for things to calm down a bit. The

seas are definitely a bit rough which is preventing any more seal

captures, but all things considered, not too bad. I took some Meclizine

yesterday, but I'm doing pretty good today without it.

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