Curiously street-like lamps, night caps and laughing

November 19, 2007 at 5:56 pm | Posted in Dreams and imagination, Journey, Life in the snow, Penguins, Rachel Hazell | Leave a comment

October 28th

We are in Admiralty Bay on King George Island, a place familiar to me from surveying up and down these coasts on Endurance last year. Say fond hello to the Florence Nunatak. It’s calm, so have to run, although deck crunchy with fresh snow and populated with many passengers sporting cameras and binoculars, aghast at us in shorts. Straight ahead is Arctowski, a Polish base where we are due to visit. But the sea ice pack is too jammed for the tender boats. There’s a fur seal (unusual), a weddell and a leopard seal in the distance, a multitude of dots – ­ an adelie penguin colony. Shame we don’t get to wake the Poles. Plan B; seek permission to land at the Brazilian base, Commandante Ferrez, instead. They are snowed in. Their living room has (colour saturated) photographs of sandy beaches, and quietly staring men. A felt-tipped list by the door outlines “irritating things” ­ – only twenty items, not bad for a whole winter. Outside, up the hill, past curiously street-like lamps, stand wooden crosses, some of them in memory of FIDS men at Base G (Lockroy  is Base A.) Hey, I’m cheery today, wearing pink salopettes and contact lenses! Back to ship and to blog. Small diversion to pick up an American penguin researcher from Copacabana Base, tragically her house in Arizona had burnt down, and we are the first ship that can take her part of the way home. What a shock. Franz, the Expedition Leader, gives a lecture on Antarctic Stations, including many photos and tricky tales. Land at Half Moon, a large leopard seal prowling; up snow path to see chinstrap penguins up close, loved up, amongst beautiful lichened rock-stacks. Top of the hill for optimum nesting because that’s where the snow melts first. Divine light on distant bergs, a subtle spectrum of silver-greys. Last chance to hot tub! So we all meet up on deck six when Tudor’s finished helping with landing duties, but water’s cold ­ no! ­ so resort to cocktails instead. Double round for me as, I don’t seem to have been in the bar much (an anomaly). Cocktail of the Day: Bend Over, v good, lead to low tone of dinner conversation. Night caps. Laughing.

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