Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Antarctica journal day2 - January 15,2007

We left the dock in Stanley, Falkland Islands at noon the 14th-a day later than we planned due to bad weather and a delayed flight to the Falkland Islands. We met Capitan Jerome Poncet at his boat. If I had to describe him as a character in a novel I might say: He was a Wildman looking for adventure who succumbed to his love of beauty. A Frenchman, Jerome is easily one of the most famous seamen in the world.

Around here he is called the King of the Wind.

We have been underway now for about 15 hours. Everything is stowed because we are rolling and there is a stiff breeze biting through my fleece. We are circling the Falklands headed for Jerome’s home on Beaver Island. Weather is coming our way big time so we are gonna learn more about these islands and the black albatross who live here while we are hiding out. We are all very polite to each other-I got the top bunk in a miniscule cabin; we are feeling each other out. My roommate got seasick before we even left the dock. I’ve never been seasick but there is always a first time!

Next morning 5 am: Still coming around the NE side of the Falklands. The captain, the first mate and I were the only ones who have not been violently ill all night. I am grateful for my bombproof body after watching them all suffer. We are still rocking and rolling. About 3 more hours to Beaver Island.
We had the dreaded mutton for dinner last night. It was the best I have ever tasted but I still hate it. I opened one of my cans of smoked salmon (Thank you Stef and Dan) and chowed down.

I crack up every time Jerome says something like: “Ve air going sout-east to reach Antarctic Peninsula.” Coming from the far north it is hard to share this sailor’s perspective. Everything in my world is South-for Jerome the world lies North of his island.

Jerome has two blonde Adonis sons who run from deck to deck, engine to galley at top speed while the rest of us hang onto any hold for dear life. Dion was born on this boat and both he and Leif are expert sailors. There is a lot to be said for a wheelhouse. After driving a research vessel for the past 9 years in Prince William Sound and being out on deck in the storm, I can totally appreciate the fact that we are sailing in the world’s coldest water and what does Dion have on his feet? Nada.

We are now hiding out from a huge storm. Should be here at Beaver Island until it blows out.

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