Onto a less reluctant blogger
14 February 2014 | 64 49.5'S:063 29.3'W, Port Lockroy
Good news blog fans, the reluctant blogger's tenure has passed, and the even more reluctant blogger's time (Yeah, that's you Dave. Zero in three weeks) is over. I'm not sure if it was the same in your household, but in ours, the reluctant blogger's reluctance to share his Antarctic experiences with the world had my mother jumping up and down in the kitchen in fury and muttering angrily at her iPad. Whilst Skip's desire to keep the ins and outs of his family holiday private are understandable, and for many visitors down here a large part of the attraction is the solitude, lack of email, Facebook, and the internet, for me a large part of the pleasure I derive from being down here is the process of sharing our adventures. Having been on the other side of the fence as well, back in good ole Blighty desperately checking the blog and my emails every day, waiting for news from Dave and Pelagic that all was well, I now have a small inkling what it is the family and friends go throug h waiting to hear from us down here. As such I would like to give a particular shout out to all the Mum and Dad blog readers out there, who put up with us gallivanting about, praying for our safety, and not complaining when we disappear off the radar for months at a time. A particular hello to the following people we know read the blog: my own Mum and Dad (Mummy and Daddy Bert) who apart from being just brilliant, send me sporting updates, cooking tips and knitting advice, Dave's Mum and Dad who provide us with endless logistics and technical support at the end of the satphone (I hope you enjoyed your holiday in Scotland), Mr and Mrs G-B, who Andrew assures me are always the first to read the blog, Paul and Sally, our Falklands family, who provide us with a seemingly unending supply of cheese, wine and good banter when the boat is in the Falklands, and last but not least, Papa Thomas, father of Pelagic Australis' mate Thomas, who assures me that his father reads all the blog s written South of 60. Hello.
So the blog should be updated a little more regularly hopefully, and I feel we might owe you a little round up of what's happened in the last few months. The logistics of it are all rather complicated and resembled the riddle where you have a fox, a goose and a sack of grain to get across a river, but can only transports two at a time else the fox will eat the goose and the goose will eat the grain. By the end of January, Andrew and Skip's family, having missed a suitable weather window to cross the Drake and with the kids needing to get back to school, had safely returned to terra firma via the cruise ship Fram. A few weeks later Dave, who'd managed to get a fleeting week off in the Falklands returned to Antarctica via the next trip on the Fram, and Skip left on the same ship. The goose and the fox were all on the right side of the river, however, I was holding the grain (and a lot of other provisions) and I was still in South America. Enter Pelagic Australis and their 8 ch arming guests from Maine, who accepted me onto their crew. We had a great crossing down, my first Drake Lake, which we paid for with a rather fruity 24 hours in Deception Island, where as the wind built we dragged anchor through the fine volcanic silt and spent the day and night hove to inside Port Foster, watching gusts of up to 65kts sweep over us. Having survived the blow in Deception we were treated with a rather lovely few days of calm, sunny, weather, nice enough in fact to persuade some of us to brave the √"polar plunge'. I say brave it, but in fact I think us youngsters were shamed into it when men more than twice our age jumped in without hesitating. Much respect was given that day. The fine weather also allowed us to light up the Pelagic Australis BBQ. As we returned to the yacht having after a brisk walk up Danco Island to the smell of lamb and toothfish on the barbie it make me realise that the Little P might in fact be missing a vital bit of equipment. Something to work on maybe√Č We continued our leisurely descent down the Peninsula, quite literally having to dodge whales at some points, before arriving at Port Lockroy the evening of the 11th.
The following day was almost perfectly calm, allowing for a rare sight. Pelagic Australis at anchor, with Little P rafted up next to her. It made transferring provisions, spares and my luggage much easier. You'll be please to hear that the new teapot made it safely in one piece. Enough of me harping on a bout what I've been up to though, in my absence Dave has also been on adventure, taking Andrew and Ruth a little further South to Pleaneau, and Peterman Island in search of Leopard Seals. They claim nothing exciting happened but the photos tell a different story√Č