A 4000 ton ship laden with 500 tons of cargo, crashing down on the earths coldest ocean, is a very apparent noise. You don't sleep through the bashing and to top it, the sun never sets past the horizon, so its always light. This was it for the duration of our journey within Antarctica's frozen sea. There were moments of freedom from the grinding, banging, turbulant world we had just entered, moments, we all knew were the calm before the ice storm.
12.00 midnight, tue 19dec 06. The lowest the sun will get during the early summerAntarctic months. We had know entered the Antarctic circle 65 degrees 35.7 S, 001 degrees 025.3 W.
Its an amazing sight to see a forever waving tide of sea completly frozen. Then crack underneath you like viennetta ice cream. The ship seems to stumble and glide through the ice, depending on its mood. Sometimes we would slice through it like a flat dew pond, other times it requires Herculian force, rising above the ice, crushing it into the wash with its tonnage. The shades of ice glow and glisten, some are shades of white and grey others are hues of blues and some with orangey, rusty tinges, which is algae. Occassionally a slice of ice with flip over as the ship crashes into it, revealing wriggling krill, hungry for the algae.
A vertical shot of the hull cracking into the ice.
There are also those times when Mother nature gets the better of us! Initializing a term i like to call the triple RRR's, Repeat, Reverse, Ram. This highly evolved technique, requires immense skill (with a push of a button and a stick) and yes it usually comes up trumps, usually??
The ice here is at least 2 metres thick, and spreads out as far as the eye can see, in one clean sheet. As you can see the triple RRR manuvere, doesn't always work. Stopping us in our tracks, making every nut, bolt and weld grimmace at the shunt.
Me within the Antarctic circle.
Cracking our way through the sea ice, avoiding the icebergs.
Cliff edges of the Antarctic ice shelf.
This is for my lovly little one, don't you think he's cute? I'll try and smuggle him back in my bag for you? Happy Christmas. x
If i could ask you too imagine for a moment how large the southern ocean is surrounding Antarctica, what the chances are of seeing a seal? Quite good. The chances on the ship steering a course directly towards a seal basking on the sea ice, propelling the seal into a getaway frenzy, like Tom and Jerry, and smashing the seal into the frozen ocean with the ships hull. What are the chances? Of all the places in Antarctica for the seal to be laying, or of all the courses the ship could have steered, bet the seal never thought a 4000 ton ship would be squashing him?
For all those animal lovers, no our captain isn't an exwhaler or seal clubber, the seal immediately swam under the ship once the hull cracked its exit.