We were joined at lunch time by the new crew for this second Antarctica trip. Clare and James of course still on board (thank goodness), Nick and I (Colette) have rejoined the boat after 4 weeks off travelling around south America. Otherwise we have a complete change of crew and are now joined by Sarah and John Theakston, Gemma Gorman, Stafford Craig, Richard Clarke, Fanny Mitchell, Kathleen Dwyer, Kirsteen Keith, Katrin Geisler and Torsten Schulz-Larsen. This is going to be a wonderfully international leg with English, Scottish, Irish, German, Danish and Australian on board.
Right now it’s beautifully still outside, and quite a pleasant temperature, but earlier there was quite a strong wind blowing through meaning that the port was closed again. More wind is forecast for the next few days, so it looks like we won’t set out into the Drake Passage before Wednesday when we hope the strong winds will have passed. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the forecasts for the next few days to see how things develop. Unfortunately we have had another baggage problem, and Fanny’s luggage has been delayed, so please all keep your fingers crossed that it arrives tomorrow so we can stop worrying. If the bags arrive and we get a weather window, we will head a little way down the coast to Puerto Williams to clear Chillean customs (and see this bar in a boat that the last crew were talking about). There we will wait for an opening to cross the Drake passage.
There is an atmosphere of excitement on the boat, and happy reunions with friends we haven’t seen for a long time. I’m really excited about going back to Antarctica after my trip 4 years ago. It will be fantastic to see some of the same places I visited before. The descriptions of some of the bays written in the blogs from the last group sound exactly as I remember them. Apparently, in Yankee Harbour the gentoo penguins still send a welcome party to meet you on the beach, the crabeater seals still lounge around on the ice, and the elephant seals still battle each other boisterously at the end of the spit – not much has changed in 4 years. But I’m also looking forward to seeing and experiencing new places, wildlife and activities (such as halyard swinging into the chilly Antarctic water). I am a bit nervous about the potential for sea sickness on the Drake, and the prospect of the heater breaking down again. But hopefully it will provide me with some fun stories afterwards.
Happy new year to all readers