Deja Vu. I'm at Creek 4, sitting on the ship, writing a blog. I just finished a 12 hour shift unloading frozen food, solar panels, and everything in between, from the ship onto a sledge, sitting on the sea ice with a Sno-cat.
I'm back in relief.
Okay - so when I last wrote my blog, we were in the land of icebergs. All was going quite well, and on the eve of the 30th, we were told to expect to hit Creek 4 - the place where we unload the ship near Halley - sometime around 8am on the 31st.
And then, at 4am, things took a turn for the worse. We got stuck. Proper stuck. When the ship goes silent, it's for one of two reasons. Either we're in smooooth waters, or we're not moving. And it was the latter situation that we woke up to find.
What do you do when you're stuck? Well, once you reverse and go forward a couple times, you swing the crane a bit to get some rocking action. Then, if that doesn't work, you pick up a large container and swing it around for the same purpose:
...and, when that doesn't work, you pick up another ship and start swinging it around:
Good thing we had another ship to swing around - would have been rude to just pick up a nearby ship to do this. (Ignoring the fact there are probably no ships within 1000km.) None of this worked, though, so we just waited and eventually broke out seven hours later through a combination of tricks that the Captain neglected to share with us.
One amusing point: as we sat outside watching, we saw a tiny black dot on the horizon. After a couple hours, the dot materialized into an Adelie penguin, running (with its arms out) towards us to see what was going on. These birds must be the most curious and patient animals in the entire animal kingdom - who else would say "Hm! There's something off at the horizon that looks interesting. I think I'll take a 3 hour walk to go see what it is!"
After departing and leaving behind our spectator, we had an eerie period. Absolutely no wind. The water was like a mirror:
...and when there was not much ice, it felt like we were sailing in a cloudy void.
But, eventually, Antarctica finally materialized in this void, and after following some ice cliffs for hours, we saw human civilization again in the form of four winterers and a skidoo. At Creek 4.
New Year's was spent here - a bit uneventful, as relief began the next morning. And now, a couple days into it, all has gone well. But I haven't left the ship yet. I'll expect to be at Halley when relief is over in the next few days. Quite looking forward to it - a nice change of scenery.