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Drake Passage, Southbound

Leaving Ushuaia for the deepfreeze.
Leaving Ushuaia for the deepfreeze.
As a bit of light streams through the window, we awake in the Drake Passage, later endeared as the “Drake Shake.” The sea is very strong and makes our Sarpik Ittuk feel like a rubber ducky being thrown around. It is kind of fun (at first.) I quickly decide that the idea of walking to the shower is useless, in fact, “walking” anywhere is futile. So I drop to the crawling position. Yes, this is much better. I will crawl to the shower and be done before anyone else wakes up. Just as I reach the bath door, the ship rolls sharply to the right (starboard) sending me sliding across the carpet in my slick nylon pj bottoms. This was comical, for a second, until I realized that I am about to careen into the metal heater radiator located at the other side of the room. Just as I was about to take a up close and personal look at the radiator with my forehead, Mike reaches down from his bunk & grabs my feet as I go by. My nose stops just inches from the radiator, as we then have a lull before rolling to the left (port side). I notice the sharp sting of carpet burn on my knees and top of my feet as I shower. I think – this is just a little crazy!

Kristen is feeling a bit light headed, so we both take extra medication. Mike is tough, so he passes the opportunity up. I bet he is regretting this decision in a few hours. After a light breakfast, meaning ½ piece of dry toast and a few sips of juice, the girls wimp out and decide to skip the morning lecture in lieu of a bit more “horizontal position.” At this point, the “safety belt” is totally understood. It is not safe in the bunk without the belt on. Well, maybe it is, but it is about the only comfort found on this day.

The day spent in the Drake Passage is one filled with lectures to help the passengers get the most out of the trip. The outside decks are closed because the constant side-to-side rolling has made everything wet and now frozen. Not that anyone would actually want to go outside in these conditions, but if they did, it would physically be very challenging to stay upright (and probably on-board). Of course last night we reviewed the next day’s agenda and decided which lectures to attend, but . . . from the horizontal position of one’s bunk bed, it is difficult to hear the lectures given in the Panorama. The want for learning is given way to the swirling of my head and the constant rolling of our Room 317.

At lunch time, Mike pops in the room to tell us how good he feels and how much we are missing (not that he actually attended a single lecture this morning himself). So, I leave Kristen wadded up in a ball in her bed and “venture out” into the big rolling ship. Should it tell you something when you look down the ship’s hallway and see that stuffed into the handrail every 3 feet there is a pre-opened “barf bag”? Well, if they could just keep the ship at some stationary position, even if it were sideways, maybe we would not be sick. I take a deep breath, concentrating on the end of the hallway (although I don’t know what good that does when it is rocking & rolling just as much as the floor in front of my feet.) One of the ship’s rules is “one hand for the ship and one hand for you.” Forget me! Both arms are straight out, trying to keep me from bouncing off of the walls. Finally, the steps up to the Panorama Lounge, where Mike has assured me that if I will just sit where I can look out at the open sea, I will feel so much better. Yea, right! My notes from the Shackleton lecture involve a whole 7 points before they fade into a blank page. This is the point where I am thinking, “whose bright idea was it to come up here where I can see out, anyway.” I am too whoosy to remember who told me that. Right now, I am literally concentrating on one foot in front of the other, arms out to brace myself off of the wall, left-right, brace myself, look at the end of the hallway – wait, that doesn’t help at all. Finally, Room 317, more medications, and that’s all I remember today.

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