Wednesday 16th March
Hi everybody, another amazing day, steaming through ice, big chunky bits that go BONG, other pieces so big that they tilt the ship slightly as they slip underneath her. The icebergs we passed today are sculptured and craggy, worn that way by the sun, waves and wind that have shaped them all summer. We had a ceremony today to celebrate crossing the Antarctic circle ( delayed due to bad weather ) where we had to bow to King Neptune, have a nasty mixture like porridge tipped on our heads, then kiss a stinky old fish head. It was very nice to have a hot shower afterwards.
This evening we had a barbeque on the trawl deck, the deck closest to water level. It was very cold, minus 9, so standing next to the barbeque was a good idea. Broken chunks of bergs swooshed past the ship and the sun went down in a swirl of red on the horizon, with a massive carved iceberg beside it, red swirls reflecting in the water, until tomorrow, alison
Thursday 17th March
Hi everybody, St Patrick’s Day in Antarctica, the people at Casey had green everything; spaghetti, bread, baked beans, eggs, beer, even the ice was green. Toni, who has just moved into my cabin, has been living at Casey for six months studying penguins, and is now heading home to Darwin, said it tasted the same but the colour was off-putting.
I flew to Casey after lunch by helicopter, taking off from the heli-deck, and buzzing over the three km of sea in a few minutes. The station itself is a hotchpotch of different coloured buildings, like Mawson, but the landscape was very different, low rocky hills running up to the icecap and a series of broken bays and islands off-shore.
I met a friendly guy called Chris, who emailed some photographs to my web page, and another, Noel, who drove some of us up to Penguin Pass, where we could see the Aurora out in the bay, looking tiny in the vast view.
I was freezing by the time we got back into the helicopter, but the pilot gave us a treat by detouring over the abandoned American station, Wilkes, so we could check it out. I could see lines of penguins crossing the ice, and it was amazing to see icebergs from above, they have a kind of skirt, underwater, shining like a clear turquoise light.
I nearly forgot to tell you one of the best bits of the day. This morning I woke up at about 6.30am and went up to the bridge to see what was going on, and saw a lot of Killer Whales or Orcas, going past. They looked wonderful, their shiny black bodies standing out against the sea, some “spying” ( putting their heads right out of the water to look ) as we went past. It pays to get up early in Antarctica, cheers, alison
Friday 18th March
Howdy everybody, another incredible Antarctic day. This morning I got up early, 6.30am and went up on to the top deck to watch the sunrise. We were
still in the bay, 3 km off casey, no swell at all, and it was -11 degrees outside. The sky in the east was streaked with yellow and it reflected gold
on bits of unfrozen sea. In the west the sky was a soft pink, and as the sun rose it got stronger and stronger, with streaks of blue and grey through.
The helicopters buzzed to shore and back all morning, delivering cargo and ferrying more people to the ship and then after lunch we began to move
again. At first I couldn't work out why we were steaming straight towards Casey, but the ship turned in a big arc and blew its hooter, long and loud,
to say good bye, and then we headed north through the ice. That will be our last look at the Antarctic continent, next stop Macquarie Island, in about
The sunset tonight was beautiful too, and as we waited for it I saw some emperor penguins and minke whales. We are still passing through chunky bergs
that tip the ship slightly if we pass over them. Dinnertime is very different now, with about twenty extra people going home
from Casey, we have to line up for the buffet , and all the tables are full. The food is still fabulous but there is less fresh stuff, as we've been away
for almost a month now, until tomorrow, alison
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