Thursday, 14 December 2006

Next stop Halley

We departed South Georgia on 13th dec, with clear blue skies and the wind on our backs, the waves were gentle, almost certainly passive.

Well this is it, no more jaunts or island hopping, our next stop is Halley Research Station, Brunt Ice Shelf, Antarctica, 75*35'S, 26*37'W. (* = degrees).

We have a very changeable time of when we will arrive, sea ice pending, but approx. 10 days of pure sailing from KEP - Halley.

The ship hit its 1st storm in the early hours of saturday morning 16th december, which lasted until early evening, same day. Its was quite amazing, i thought i would brave it. So there i was, tablets digesting away in my stomach and my camera firmly in my grasp. I trundled towards the back of the ship (whatever that maybe called, yes i know i should know this, but i dont, so tuff). What a spectacle, you could see the whole ship riding the waves, pitching up and down, with the ocassional roll from side to side, and because we were in a storm that was apparently going faster than the ship, the waves were coming in on the lower deck. I participated in a quick snap, before making my way back inside. I climbed the next deck up, and 'wow', waves were coming in on this deck too. I slowly made my way to the galley to have a cuppa, when the portholes had the resemblance of a washing machine door, we were in effect under water!! No need to panic, we are safe and well for know.

The portholes submerged.

After my efforts of not spilling my cuppa paying off, i went up onto the bridge, where i could see 360* views of this beastly storm. A quick chat with the officer on duty, revealed we were being overtaken by a force 10 storm, with waves lashing up to 8metres high and a wind speed of over 50 knots. For those of you who don't understand or have any idea of wind speed or storm force, a hurricane is force 12. Our only saving grace was that the storm was out pacing us, however i did have to retire to my pitt, along with most of the ships company, later on. The onslaught was just constant, no letting up, your body aches and shakes whenever the waves pummell, the ship. I imagine you could get a similar experience with a never ending bungy rope and a bouncy castle that crashes you about for a day or so in constant motion. I lay in my bed nursing my dizzyness, trying to keep as still as possible. I have never felt so weightless and so heavy just laying down. I'd find myself rolling, sliding and continually rocking, without doing a thing. When the ship peaks on the crest of the wave, you feel in limbo, almost levitating, until CCCRRRRAAAASSSSSHHHHHHHH, shudder, shudder, shudder, your sucked back down into your bed, as you would be in experiencing G-force.

The shackleton at its best or worst?


Jazz said...

Excellent photos , so jealous of your adventure ! Can`t wait for the next installment .Sea looks a bit choppy today on the webcam , hope you are ok .Dudley says hello!
Dad & Sue

Mr Biggs said...

Sounds rough! feel nausious thinking about it.