A day at sea…a day with a parade…a procession of birds following the wake of the ship. Some of these birds stay on the open waters for years without ever seeing land...like Davy Jones...letting the sea become their home...their family. We have seen so many on this trip from the rare Antarctic Petrel, to Giant and Cape Petrels and Fulmars. Standing on the back deck, I watch them swoop and swirl in the wind...creating a rhythm dance. They are much more coordinated than us humans the walking on the Antarctic Dream. People knew what to expect, yet as the boat headed into the open and the rocking began, the uncoordination commenced as well. No land...only water. I went to the map and stared at it. I placed my finger on the water between Antarctica and the tip of South America. “This is where I am”. The space is so small yet takes two days to cross in good weather. As the world has shrunk in size with airplanes, this trip has taken the longest time for direct travel for any other international destination and I like it.
Heading toward the front, I visited the captain of the ship. He had invited people to come up and visit anytime (one of the many pluses of traveling in a small vessel). It wasn't like steering a pirate boat, but the cabin did have a small helm along with several other instruments, lights and gadgets. Explaining a few of them to me, he then turned and showed a detailed map of our exact location. Suddenly an alarm sounded. A boat was sinking!!! What? Where? The captain explained that boats all over the world, are on the same system. This boat was in the tropics far from us and other ships had already responded to it's distressing cries. The winds were calm for this time of year, and we were making excellent time. I had to rely on trusting the captain’s experience and wisdom because as I looked out the captain's window the boat seemed to be playing leap frog with the waves. It wasn't the only time, I had to simply trust. I remembered just a few days earlier when we had run into our first ice berg.
Sitting at dinner, suddenly there was a loud noise and a vibration. Looking out the window I could see light blue ice floating by. Normally I loved looking out the large glass windows, but not this time. The boat had struck an ice berg!!! AGHHHH! As my heart began to pound, I looked around and saw no one seemed panicked. The clanking of silverware, chatter and laughter continued as I took a deep breath. The noise returned as the boat shook again. Looking to the right of me, I saw the captain as well as a few other crew members. They didn't seem worried and then I remembered. This boat is an icebreaker. It can break ice that is up to 10 feet thick. Oh...breathing a sigh of relief I took a sip of wine and continued eating my amazing dessert.
I am once more a bit seasick, but determined to make the most of this time. It's not every day that one travels across the Drake Passage. I have made a decision though. On board there are shirts that say “Drake Passage Survivor”. I'm definitely going to purchase one of those!