Thursday, 25 December 2008

Merry Christmas!

And, just like last year, I bid you Merry Christmas from the Shackleton. Last year, I was busy unloading aviation fuel. This year, I am cruising through the south Atlantic. And although I would prefer to be back in Canada on this day in particular, all is well.

But all is freakin’ rough. We’ve been dealing with hurricane force winds for the last few days, and 20-30 foot swells which are making our ship rock and roll.

Or our fishing boat, apparently. We were told that the Shackleton is officially too small to be a ship, weighing in just under the official demarcation point. Apparently, fishing boats pay less in insurance. Nonetheless, the Shackleton appears to be holding up well, even if some of its passengers aren’t.

Personally, I’ve been on the margin of seasickness - never throwing up, or anything embarrassing, but not quite in full form. After the initial adjustment, all was well; but when the gale force winds came, it was back to “marginal”. Better than I could say for some of my fellow passengers, though. Some haven’t left their cabins since getting on board.

Since leaving South Africa, sightseeing has been pretty slim. However, three things have presented themselves. First, on Saturday night, we were having a barbeque on deck (pictured below) when somebody shouted “Dolphins on the starboard side!” Sure enough, there were at least 50 dolphins – I think a lot more – that were jumping into the air, clearly having fun and keeping pace with the ship. I’m guessing they were excited to have company in this particularly empty part of the world. I took a few pictures, but they never turn out very well.

Second, on the next day, word passed around that there were some whales off the port side. There were three, and they seemed indifferent to our presence. One did show some tail, though.

And finally, today we saw our first iceberg. We’re currently around 55 degrees south – about as far south as Britain is north – and there will be many, many more to come. But, as I have not seen this much ice since my last trip, it has reminded me of the things to come.

In the meantime, I remain hovering on the margin of nausea. Very soon, we’ll hit sea ice, which will smooth out these waves and give us more things to look at.


Anderson said...

Missed you last night... definitely next year.

Avonton said...

Merry Christmas Ryan. Hadn a nice fondue...... but next year hope to have 2 more forks in the pot!

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas Ryan! Hope the waves have been giving you less grief and that the penguins are preparing a warm welcome for you! El, Glen & Toby