Sunday, December 17, 2006

Storms, Ice and Horses

Sitting with cups of tea in the galley, a few of us commented that the voyage was disappointingly smooth and not what we had expected of the southern ocean. As if over-hearing, Mother Nature responded to our taunts with two days of solid force 10, bringing 8m seas and 50knot winds from our stern. The Shackleton ploughed on through without needing to alter course and only a few people felt rough. But had we been heading into or beam-to the weather, we would have really known about it.

Last night the storm eased off and we all enjoyed the annual ‘race night’ in the bar, loosing vast amounts of money to charity. I awoke this morning to what sounded like oil drums being dragged over stones. Broken sea-ice, scattered by the storm, stretched across our course. Up on the bridge, the officer of the watch guided us through the easiest channels, but we were still rattled around. Now we’ve cleared the ice and are running on both engines to make time. I’m due on deck at 12:00 to run an experiment to monitor sea temperature before setting down to a delicious smelling Sunday lunch.

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