Blue Skies and Blue Water Sailing (Written on Jan 19, 2014)
Just when we thought we had seen the last iceberg, another two appeared on the horizon! A very large one with a pinnacle, dry-dock and second sloping pinnacle which shone beautifully in the sunshine 5.5 nm on our starboard side. The other smaller one at 7 nm had three pinnacles but did without interesting shape. We are now well above 580 South and icebergs continue to dot the horizon. Just how far north will we record them?
This mornings’ visual observations were from inside the wheelhouse, where with great gusto the previously thought ‘last’ iceberg was judged to within an icicle of its’ life! To port, a medium-sized berg with a curved pinnacle, though not pointed was balanced with a dry-dock feature (a pool between features) and a secondary lumpy pinnacle. Simon and Tas were calling it a 4, rated out 10, which is not particularly high. I liked the curving shape of the pinnacle, even though it wasn’t pointed – but still they decided it was not such a great iceberg. It did get marks, however, for being so far north and would otherwise have been judged as a 2! Gosh, they are a hard lot to please!
Only a handful of bird sightings in the bird watch were noted and on the beautiful, blue sea more white-caps began appearing…
Reflecting on what this journey has meant to me, I realised that I hadn’t understood just how much I had wanted/needed to return here. On the surface, I knew I wanted to come back to see the bergs and all, but I guess I didn’t realise just how deep-seated this desire was. The whirring emotions of the last few days, I must interpret as immense and great happiness at the fulfilment of this burning desire and the re-connection with the magnificent sights we saw! Inside, I am crying with joy, weird but I think ok.
Noon Observations Jan 19, 2014
Lat/Long: 570 53.6 S 1170 50.2 E
Dry Bulb Temp: 3.50C
Wet Bulb Temp: 3.00C
SST (Sea Surface Temp): 3.40C
COG (Course Over the Ground): 0090
SOG (Speed Over the Ground): 7.0 knots
Barometer: 982 Hp
Beaufort SS (Sea State): 5-6
WS (Wind Speed): 18-22 knots
WD (Wind Direction): NNW
Swell: NNW 2-4 m
Wildlife: Soft-plumaged Petrel, Broad-billed Prions
WT: SHBCS – 6.5
Antarctic Fact: The highest recorded wind speed in Antarctica was 372 km/h in 1972 at the French Station Dumont d’Urville.
Antarctic Slang: Homer – home-brewed beer, popular on Australian stations.
Lunch from Restys’ galley today was bowls of delicious steaming fried rice with all things nice – sausage, eggs, chilie, carrots and spring onions. The air is warming, the sea water and us too! A bright blue sky with sunshine gleaming on a gorgeous blue sea made us wish deeply and look very hard for blue whales. The action seemed just beyond our reach…Plans B and C will have to be engaged. These Antarctic blues are very localised in their distribution. WE may still see some in the STCZ (the Sub-Tropical Convergence Zone), in fact where we saw two pygmy blues and one Antarctic blue whale one year ago. Here’s to hoping for sighting a huge blow.
I had my once a year sleep during the day today with a recuperating snooze between 230-330pm. Feeling revived, I was ready for the afternoon observations. Lovely waves danced to our portside with bright blue crests. This water is really pretty, a totally different colour to our more indigo-hued Indian Ocean.
While on deck I was thinking how our WAVES team has been such a good working team. Getting there, getting along and getting back are the goals. On particular expeditions, mental resolve can need to be is a strong as the physical requirements of the journey. Whale Song cares for us kindly but these are some observations that Freya Stark detailed as qualities needed by a traveller:
I A temper as serene at the end of the day as at the beginning
II The capacity to accept other peoples’ standards
III Rapid judgement of character
IV A love of nature including human nature
V The capacity to disassociate oneself from bodily sensations
VI A knowledge of local history and language
VII A leisurely and uncensorious mind
VIII A tolerable constitution
IX The ability to eat and sleep at any moment
X A ready quickness in repartee
I can see many of these qualities in all of us, and thus together – we are the sum. We are operating as a well-oiled team and this is credit to great leadership from our Captain Curt and the dedicated and hard-work of each and every team member. Thank you all for your efforts – you are the best WAVES team ever!
Resty prepared our ship favourite tonight, roast lamb from Vincentia, NSW with roast potatoes, carrots and cashews and salad. Just delicious! Late this afternoon we believed that we passed the last iceberg. It was detected by RADAR, not vision being 15 nm away… We have already had about 8 last bergs, but this one is really the last one! Goodbye bergs, ‘til next.
With the SST on the rise, we can already feel we are heading to the tropics!