We are already more than half way through this journey and time is flying by so fast. There is so much we are doing in a day and I am glad I am writing the journal every day because when I am thinking back on the days that have been, it is all a blur. They are all mixed up in my head. Even though I remember specific moments of the day, conversations, things we did, I do not remember the sequence in which everything happened. But the memories are crystal clear.
We started today at 6:30 am when we were ushered to the bow by Jumper’s signature call. The ship was passing through the legendary Lemaire channel, “which was curiously named after Charles Lemaire, a Belgian Adventurer who never set foot on Antarctica” according to our log books. But that’s not what makes the Lemaire legendary. Una’s tits do. Una was one of the only few women working in Antarctica as a secretary at the British Antarctic Survey around in 1950s, after whom the Cape Renard towers, two symmetrical hillocks were nicknamed. We didn’t get to see Una’s tits maybe because of all the minors on Ship but entering the Lemaire channel was dream enough for most sailors even, I bet.
It snowed for the most part of the day today which made everything we saw extra beautiful. There are some experiences which when experienced transform you and make you join a cult of higher mortal like said in the quote on top of this page. (which has come to become one of my favorite quotes on this journey.) The point is not that I feel superior for having experienced it, but I feel lucky enough, humbled even, to have experienced it. I only wish the same for everyone to experience something as soul-stirring, at least once in their lifetime. Watching snowfall while on a ship with icebergs as the backdrop is one such experience. The ocean and snow. There is nothing more beautiful than to watch snow hit the surface of the vast ocean, whirling with the wind and eddying down. Not surprisingly other times I’ve felt this way about something has been when I have been really close to nature like being surrounded by the mighty Himalayas, standing under the spray of Niagra’s wrath, watching a whale dive or even just looking straight up at the sky when it rains. These moments make me feel connected with the universe in an unexplainable way as I get a burst of epiphanies telling me of my existence in the cosmic scale. I value these moments because they make me feel alive and more connected to every other being present. They give me purpose. Antarctica is full of such moments.
In the afternoon, we went zodiac cruising around Icebergs. Imagine gliding on the surface of the water with icebergs floating around. Again, snow hitting the water. Snow hitting the ice. You can see icebergs in all possible colours, shapes, sizes and ages. Under the surface you can see shades of blue you would’ve never seen before with changing gradients playing with different light intensities to create magic. The closer you get the more you start to notice and get to know each iceberg’s little idiosyncrasies that make them, much like with people. You can’t get too close to an iceberg though because they are very unstable and can topple any time and send you off surfing on a wave half its size.
All that snowing since last night turned today into a day of snow fights- on the ship, on the zodiacs, while in Antarctica. And it wasn’t even like the calm pretty kind of snow. It was like a blizzard. Our team mission was snow fight our ways to the top of the hill in this blizzard. As soon as we went ashore we were greeted by a large colony of moulting penguins. Penguins usually don’t move much when they are moulting to conserve energy. But those few almost done with their moulting can be seen waddling around, sliding on their bellies and just acting cute all the time. 🙂 We were also assisted by Rob to climb up a steep cliff with ropes. He pulled each and every one of us to cross over. At 59, this man is stronger than most 18-year-olds.
Not only does Rob set new fitness standards for us to aspire to he also sets new life goals standards to aspire to. His second talk left us speechless again. He had the entire room’s rapt attention till the very end. He made it super interesting, stirred up emotions and also threw in a generous dose of humour. We also has some great sessions by Xavier and Don on climate change and what we can do to fight it. More on that in notes!