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Of ships and Zodiacs

sunny 79 °F
View 2020 Vision - around South America on HopeEakins's travel map.

Life aboard the Silver Whisper has changed. A twenty-one person expedition team has arrived to prepare us and the ship for the Antarctic part of our adventure. They look different; they are younger and very fit. They speak with enthusiasm, extensive knowledge, and conviction. They have loads of equipment with them, hoses, parkas, and odd shaped boxes.

Our lectures and amusements used to be delivered by people like our friend Michael Buerck, BBC anchor newsman and raconteur extraordinaire. Now glaciologists and ornithologists and cetologists give lectures and our heads start to spin. We have been taught about light v. heavy water in ice core samples, about the differences between albatrosses and petrels, about penguins and passerines (perching birds) and, of course whales and seals. The expedition team absolutely loves their subjects, and they are determined to make us just as excited as they are.

Outside our veranda, Zodiacs sail by, practicing for the adventure ahead. The little boats get hoisted from the ship’s bow on a huge crane and once in the sea, nuzzle in to be loaded from a tiny platform. Today the temperature is in the high seventies and we face the gorgeous beach of Punta del Este (Uruguay), and this embarkation looks difficult. How it will work when we are on the ice sheets makes us just a little bit anxious.

One of our suitcases sits under the bed filled with mittens and long underwear and heavy socks and wet pants and hats and scarves. Soon we’ll put the bathing suits away for a while. We are hoping that the notorious Drake Passage which is known for fierce storms will be the Drake Lake when we sail through its 500 miles to the Antarctic ice shelf.

Posted by HopeEakins 11:22 Archived in Uruguay

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