Monday, 11 November 2013
Ice Ice Baby
We are heading into our fifth night trapped in sea ice frustratingly close to Port Lockroy. The boat is still in place thankfully and we have had a chance to recover and collect our thoughts from the life-changing experience of the legendary Drake waters.
We have now completely cleared the boat of ice - probably at least 5 tonnes of the stuff. Seriously!! We have also sorted our kit so that we are ready for action when the opportunity arises - this involved kicking everyone out on deck whilst we sorted through cases and bags, cameras and microphones.
Yesterday, we ventured out onto the sea ice, led by Tudor. We walked all the way to Port Lockroy and met our penguin characters for the first time. As we walked, we found ourselves parallel to a penguin highway, walking alongside gentoos returning from 6 hours of foraging at sea. It was a breathtaking experience, watching penguins waddle back across the snow, using their wings and long brush tail to balance their rotund bodies. We are pleased that the penguins haven't yet started to nest as there is still plenty of snow coverage - particularly as we are not certain when we will be able to free ourselves from the ice and begin filming properly.
It is incredibly frustrating to be so near and yet feel so far away. Despite our frustration, we are happy and appreciative of the truly remarkable and majestic snowy landscape that surrounds us. Since we have been moored in place, more ice has been blown in so that we are now surrounded. It looks as though we are in the middle of a beautiful snowy open plain; it is only when you remember that you are on the deck of a yacht that you realise you are still at sea and that this magical snowscape could shift at any time. Even as I write, the winds have picked up a little yet again and we are rocking with the tide. Andrew and I have just been out on deck testing camera settings and getting a taste of what it is like to operate cameras and change lenses at minus 7 celsius with snow falling - it's going to be a challenging few months!
Skipper Dave and Tudor set up a pulley system yesterday afternoon to enable us to send kit across to the mainland without having to carry it across sea ice. Of course, its use is dependent on us being able to cross the sea ice safely ourselves and we won't be taking any risks, that's for sure. For now, we are staying on the yacht and awaiting safer conditions.
Lots of love to friends and family, as well as all our readers! Will keep you posted as our adventures continue...