Archive for January, 2011

Spinning Yarn: See Ice, Sea Ice #55

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

I had never thought there would be a difference in “species” of ice. Icebergs are great hunking masses of the stuff that has broken off an ice shelf, or glacier  and these are fresh water. Compressed snow. And they glow from the inside out. It is like a light has been placed inside and the power turned on. It is the most gorgeous, iridescent blue!  All the snow pressure has pushed out all the air trapped in the ice, so all that is left is pure water.

 Being Fresh water (ie: snow), the ice is not as dense and therefore floats higher in the ocean water.

 Pack ice, on the other hand, is frozen sea water – salty – and freezes at a lower and colder temperature than fresh water. It is also denser and sits lower in the water. (Maybe that’s where the saying of 9/10 underwater comes from)

 As we moved into the pack ice territory, We were told at the afternoon briefing, that we were not to concern ourselves about the banging and bumping noises and motion of the ship – we are on the ORION, not the Titanic…..

Spinning Yarn: The Ice Comes #53

Friday, January 28th, 2011

 Who would have thought that a whole shipload of passengers would be so excited at seeing some ice! This is the outside version and not the kind that floats in your drink.

100 passengers screamed in delight! The little bits of isolated pack ice became more frequent and closer together until we had a whole horizon of ice to view and snap with our cameras…

Told to look out for whales and birds, and wearing our new Expedition coats, we clung to the rails and breathed the cold air , all the time snapping pictures in the almost-setting sunset, and keeping our eyes on possible living movement.

 There is nothing else for miles, as far as our eyes can see—only us in our Blue ship –so where do the birds come from?

Spinning Yarn: Forward South #52

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Facing three days of ocean voyage is not a hardship when there is plenty of learning and lectures given by the Expedition team, preparing us for our Southern Encounters. We learned about Penguins, Whales, Antarctic birds, geology, Mawson himself, Dogs and Sledging, and how to help manage the Historic site by obeying the 5m Rule for wildlife as well as artifacts.

 And for me there was time to be spinning yarn. And also to teach. Ilearned about Ocean Law Enforcement from Lisa, and she learned spinning from me….Fair’s fair….

 And also be pampered. Sumptuous meals served by polite waiters to look out for your every care and comfort, serving Silver Service. After dinner, a chocolate awaits on your pillow, the bed sheets turned down and pjs laid out on the chair. I cannot complain, really.

Spinning Yarn: Zodiac Travel. #53

Monday, January 24th, 2011

 The black inflatable rubber boats hold 8 passengers, the leader and driver, all wearing our several layers of warm clothes and carrying the omnipresent cameras to record any and all happenings of note, to share with the others on board the “mothership”. The Zodiacs are very zippy, easily maneuverable and light, so we are able to go into small and tight places for a good look at cave formations and ice formations, and approach wildlife responsibly. There are a lot of keen photographers on board, who have and continue to show their skills.

 The afternoon briefing collects all the neat pictures and stories of the day, and informs us of our nautical position, speed, distance and goes over the weather, the maps and the expectations for the next day. This time tomorrow we will be halfway to Antarctica!

Spinning Yarn: Under way #51

Saturday, January 15th, 2011

Spinning propellers guided us out of Dunedin Harbour into a rough 3m swell. What a way to develop sea legs! By emptying the stomach first….But those of us who could still stand enjoyed seeing the waves pass by the ship, because it meant that we were closer to our intended destination of Antarctica.

 Stopping at the Auckland Islands first, gave us a respite from the rough ocean and a good look at the kind of wildlife that lives in sub-Antarctic climes — plenty of ill-mannered sea lions scattered about the beach, two large handfuls of yellow-eye penguins and several huge albatross surveying us from the air above the cliff tops.

 Guided by the Expedition Team blue flags, and walking carefully along the wooden path especially placed for the purpose, we made our way to and from the far side of Enderby Island, soaking in the flora and fauna, the salty breeze and the memorable smells of, well,   an ocean side mammal resort.

Spinning Yarn: Boarding Orion #50

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

All the anticipation I have felt welled up today as I stood on the boarding ramp of MV Orion. Welcomed with a room key and a glass of champagne, while our bags were delivered to our rooms, we began to explore the ship. My room on level 3 is on the right side of the ship – starboard – and is very comfortable. A great place to begin spinning yarns!

It was with tears in my eyes that I realized I was finally on board! Afraid of the 5 star idea, and thinking the people would be – well, snobby, I suppose, – I was pleasantly surprised and relieved  that these guests were “normal “ people. Whew! My transition would be a lot easier than I thought!

Spinning Yarn: City of Dunedin #49

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

 When traveling, it is a good idea not to arrive on Public Holiday. Very little is open and though the hotel has a kitchen, there is no where open to buy anything to cook!  Sigh. McDonalds tastes the same all over the world!

 Dunedin is a lovely spot, very picturesque and quite historical, not that I took much time for that part. My time was spent in consultation with Morag, Majacraft representative from local company Vintage Purls, and Janette Buckingham from Thickthorne Llamas, supplier of llama fibre for Antarctica. We enjoyed our woolly fellowship, swapping notes and stories and experiences, as well as taking photos, because, of course, Morag came to deliver the Little Gem going to Antarctica.

 What a gorgeous little machine it is! Beautiful wood, great craftsmanship, totally portable and will go anywhere, as I will shortly prove.  It fits in its own carry bag, which will protect it well when I take it in the Zodiac to go Ashore… Cape Denison.