(Note from Felix: This is being posted on December 9 as email somehow doesn’t
seem to get through BAS on weekends. So the first update has already arrived,
and is sitting in the comments section.)
Thanks to all for jumping on the website comments boxes… it’s great to have
the feeling of a conversation from such a remote place! Days have actuallly
flown by since my last entry and there’s no chance of boredom setting in. Out
on deck, sea birds, also saw some dolphins and then today, my first icebergs!
The Falklands were surreal, well worth a visit were it not that they’re so
damn far away from everywhere. People say there’s a similarity with the Hebrides
and I believe it although surely I should have been to the latter first? Topsy
turvey. Go to the Shackleton diary website
for photos of the place. I don’t know what I expected (Patagonia?) but not that.
Long white sandy beaches on the edge of bleak and barren emptiness. Windswept,
wild, more remote than remote but never far from a reminder of the huge military
Penguins on the beach are as comical in real life as all the documentaries
suggest and just inland we found them nesting, hundreds of them sitting on eggs,
building up nests with pebbles, no fear, just metres away. The thriving metropolis
of Stanley has a handful of pubs and great shops that specialise in unlikely
combinations like carpets and cd players or earrings and tracksuits. The accent
is some kind of cross-breed of kiwi, west country and south african with an
unknown corner of Scotland thrown in for a giggle. Sounds great though; the
chameleon dialect of english.
Back on the ship, we’ve been sailing for a couple of days and are due into
Signy tomorrow morning. The sea there is too shallow for the Shackleton to get
right up to land so unloading of cargo and people is usually carried out by
boat. There’s been a lot more sea ice than usual lately though so they were
hoping be able to dock right up against the ice and walk/skidoo in. Difficulties
have however already arisen as recent temperatures around +10C mean the sea
ice is rapidly melting (so we can’t walk/skidoo there) and there’s also lots
of ice floating around (so we can’t get in by little boat). I have no idea what
will happen but it sounds like getting ashore is unlikely for me. A shame since
there’s meant to be wonderful wildlife and walking to be experienced there.
Considering how little there is to do, time on the ship has been flying by.
I described a typical day in the comments of the last entry but added to that
tough life ofsleeping, eating, seawatching, eating, drinking and sleeping we
have now started adding parties. Roger should also be bristling with pride knowing
his daughter is playing backgammon and cribbage every night…all those painful
nights teaching me game etiquette as a kid have paid off! I think there might
even be a photo in the next Shackleton diary to prove it.
That’s all for now. Summary is, I’m as happy as a kid in a bathtub (with loads
of bubbles and icebergs and dolphins and flying things and friends).Rh.