What are your top 3 wildlife sightings so far?
1) The giant leatherback turtle in the middle of the Atlantic. He was so big that we could have ridden on his back.
2) The amazing albatrosses flying around us.
3) Commersons Dolphins (they look like baby killer whales), which were very pretty.
-How many chocolate buttons do you have left?
We’ve still got half of the chocolate buttons left. In the tropics, because of the warm temperature, we didn’t feel like eating chocolate. Now that it’s cold again I’m sure that we will eat the rest.
-How do you get rid of rubbish when you’re at sea?
Out at sea we put food waste (any leftover food, vegetable peelings, etc.) into the sea where it will be eaten by the animals and bacteria there. Everything else has to be stored in two big airtight blue barrels inside the boat and is put into the bin when we reach land. Unfortuantely many ports, including in the UK, don’t have recycling facilities and so we can’t recycle our waste. In the Antarctic we have to be very careful not to contaminate the environment and so even the food waste will go into the blue barrels there.
-What have you eaten the last few days?
The last few days we have been on land in Argentina so we have been eating steak. We have also eaten King Crab that was caught in the Beagle Channel and we have eaten a lot of cake. We’re going to sail to Antarctica this afternoon and the menu for the next few days is:
Lunch: Sandwiches Dinner: Lamb stew
Lunch: Ravioli Dinner: Butternut squash and chicken risotto
We have a small freezer that the batteries keep running and we keep our meat in there. We buy as many fresh vegetables as we can and we cook with these at the start of each leg but at the end of each leg we have to use tinned vegeratbles. Now that the weather is colder the vegetables last longer. In the tropics the vegetables went rotten quite quickly and had to be eaten during the first week of the leg or chopped up and frozen for later meals
-How do you do laundry on Elinca?
We have no washing machine on Elinca so we have to use our hands and a bucket of water. We have to be careful not to use too much water (as we’ll have nothing to drink) and at the moment it is very cold so it is difficult to dry our clothes. Most of us have brought extra clothes with us. However we don’t change our clothes as much as we do at home and we really look forward to our first shower when we get to shore.
-We’ve seen pictures of some of you up the mast. Is it really scary up there?
Yes, especially if you are afraid of heights but it is fun too. The mast is as tall as three houses. Clare is scared up the mast but Jon really likes it because you get good views. You’re tied on with a comfortable harness and two ropes and so it’s very safe.
-Is it difficult to steer Elinca with the big wheel?
It is a bit like steering a car but the wheel is as big as a person. This makes it easier. When the wind is strong and there are big waves it gets harder to steer and some of the small people have to be helped.
-How will Father Christmas be able to find you if you’re at sea for Christmas? Can he see your tracker?
As well as the tracker on the website we have two other tracking devices and so there are plenty of ways for Father Christmas to find us. At night we always have lights on, with different ones for when we’re anchored and when we’re sailing so that other boats can see us. When Father Christmas is flying in his sledge he will easily be able to see our lights. Father Christmas on his sledge can go everywhere even though it’s a long way away from Lapland. The South Pole is a a bit like the North Pole and there is lots of snow for him to land on. We don’t have a chimney but neither do lots of modern houses and so we think that he won’t mind. We hope that we will be near land for Christmas so the reindeer can land on the snow. We don’t think that they will be able to land on the sea.
-Have you got any photos of penguins yet?
Yes, but not good ones. We’ve mainly seen Magellanic penguins swimming in the sea around us. They are tiny dots and very far away. We will get some better ones next week in Antarctica when we will see colonies of penguins on land.