Archive for April, 2011

Spinning Yarn: Landing at Macquarie #79

Saturday, April 23rd, 2011

It was a well considered thing, us landing at Macquarie Island – The wind is a problem there. There are times when the waves come right up over the isthmus and the island is effectively cut in two, with meteorological station on one side and all the rest of the island on the other. Not today, however.

 The guides were out on the landing beach ready to make us welcome, and to give us a quick instruction on the wildlife (as opposed to the wild seas!) The 5m rule applies here too, by the way. King penguins on the beach were quite unimpressed with all the “red-coated penguins” marching around their island.

 Starting out on the walk around to the other side of the island, we came across moulting seals very much the colour of the rocks. Careful where you step – It would be pretty embarrassing to have to say you’d been bitten by a rock! The moulting fur is not spinnable, either)

Spinning Yarn: The wind picks up #78

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

 Having fished the rest of the passengers out of the freezing sea, thawed them out with hot chocolate and hot showers, the “Dry” passengers ventured downstairs where the sumptuous dinner was being served in the restaurant. (Not to worry – we saved some of the fabulous meal for the “Wet” ones).  

 We continued on our way, through the last of the ice, making our way northward, helped along by the wind and now 10m seas breaking over the back of the ship and us rolling at quite an angle, testing our ability to eat soup through the mouth and not the ear! It is all in good fun, though I suspect the kitchen did not have much fun…..all those plates all over the floor….

Spinning Yarn: Polar Plunge #77

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

 Anyone for a swim? Brash Ice is very refreshing…..

 Yes, there were some of us that dared to defy reason and sanity, donning bathing suits and safety harness, to “close encounter” the Southern Ocean. Just to say we had done it, I suppose. Wrapped in thick dressing gowns before the plunge, candidates lined up on the marina deck of the ship in preparation for being buckled in to the snatch straps, and to face the deep COLD COLD ocean.

 Cries of “Yeaaahh” resounded on the deck as each person launched from the platform. Cries of “Eeeeeww” echoed back from the upper deck as the rest of us wore their splashes.

Once fished out, the icicles broken off bodies and back into the dressing gowns, the Hot Chocolate was very welcome, as were the warm showers before dinner.

 Back in the warm, in the Lounge, those of us who recorded the event were busy swapping photos and angles ….Smart of me to take photos….

Spinning Yarn: Where the whale was #76

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Brash Ice is, apparently, a good place to find whales doing their hunting. They travel parallel to the trail of breaking ice looking for stray penguins, fish, unsuspecting tourists…. They did not find us, however. (Heheheh)

 All of us had our cameras at the ready, to make a photographic connection with the huge and graceful creatures, but all we found was an old wooden mallet floating, mysteriously, close to the edge of the Brash, which we rescued. We also found a huge piece of Styrofoam – where did that come from?  — which we auctioned off for the Mawson’s Huts Foundation that evening after dinner.

 Some of us were able to spot a whale tail as it followed its owner back into the deep, but, Gee, you had to be quick with the camera….

 PS: Our after-dinner cocktails sported ancient (Black) ice cubes…taken from the Southern Ocean and digested happily in this Century.