Saturday, March 12, 2011

Whales off the starboard

I don't think I have ever moved any faster until I heard the words "whales
50ft off the starboard side!" I moved like a shot, grabbed my camera and
raced to the 01 deck. We finally saw some whales, almost up close and
personal. They appeared to be humpbacks. I think I got some decent shots,
although it is quite difficult to shoot a moving target. It appeared as if
they were playing or something. I think there were about 5 of them.
Anyway, pretty cool!

We are heading south again on the 150 deg W line. More icebergs and bergie
bits are visible now. The sight of ice really improves one's mood,
especially after all you have seen in a while is gray skies.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Aurora australis

Two nights ago we were blessed with a clear sky night, complete with
brilliant stars and the Aurora Australis or the Southern Lights. It was
just by chance I got to witness such a rare show. I was actually in bed
reading at about 11:30 at night and decided to check something in the lab.
I walked out the door of my stateroom and the MPC just happened to be
walking by and told me to follow him. He gave me his coat and went out on
the deck. And there it was, faint, but there. So we all ran up to the
deck aft of the bridge to get a better look. There were 2 patches of pale
green cloud on both the port and starboard side of the ship. It was light
but you could definitely see it. It kept fading in and out until, finally,
it was gone. Now, unfortunately I did not get any pictures. I am not sure
they would come out anyway. I was afraid if I left to get my camera I
would miss it. If we get to see it again, I will be sure to bring it with

During this whole time I was in my PJs at the time: polar bear fleece pants
(yes, polar bears. I was being ironic), tennis shoes without socks, and a
winter jacket. This was not the smartest idea. When I returned to my
stateroom I realized that I couldn't feel 3 of my toes on my right foot,
and they were whiter than normal. Of course I panicked. All I could think
was that I would have to be heloed off the ship, I would have to get my
toes amputated, etc. Ridiculous I know but this is what I do. I was
definitely showing the first signs of frost bite. In my panicked state of
mind, I did all of the wrong things to treat the frost bite: I rubbed them,
I stuck them on the heater and then I ran warm water on them. Bad Bad Bad.
Eventually the color returned and I could feel them again. And then, of
course, I felt really silly about panicking. The moral of this story is,
kiddies, always wear socks when you are in Antarctica.

So, since I don't have any recent pictures, I decided to post some
gratuitous ice photos I took earlier in the cruise. On a side note,
Cribbage tournament begins today. I am ready!