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Home* Triplogs with photo galleriesAntarctic blog → The gre­at cros­sing – March 4, 2017

The gre­at cros­sing – March 4, 2017

Ele­ven days. Ima­gi­ne ele­ven days. That is the time that went without us going on shore any­whe­re. And that was not­hing unusu­al!

We had visi­ted McMur­do Base on Febru­a­ry 28 and reached the Argen­ti­ne Islands, just off the Ant­arc­tic Pen­in­su­la, on March 11. Coun­ting the 28th twice becau­se of the date line. And we have not been able to set foot on the Ross Ice Shelf or Peter I Island. Not due to a lack of good will – we were more than moti­va­ted to go, or rather, to fly to the­se pla­ces! But the­se extre­me pla­ces are hard to reach. Lan­dings the­re will only be pos­si­ble on real­ly good days, and tho­se are the excep­ti­on rather than the rule. So left the ship only once during the cros­sing, for the nice zodiac crui­se in the ice (see last blog ent­ry.). So con­si­de­ring the likel­y­hood of actual­ly lan­ding on the Ross Ice Shelf of Peter I Island, 11 full days at sea is pret­ty much sim­ply what you have to expect and not at all a sur­pri­se. You have to know that befo­re you come on such a trip! Know­ledge that is, by the way, also avail­ab­le from the publis­hed iti­nera­ry, with a slight­ly dif­fe­rent wor­d­ing.

Why am I empha­si­zing so much on this? Becau­se it is hard to ima­gi­ne what it means to be at sea for 11 days. Some are per­fect­ly hap­py with that, they will always find some­thing to keep them­sel­ves busy with, they enjoy watching the waves, the hori­zon or the fog, the occa­sio­nal ice­berg, wai­t­ing for the back of a wha­le to break through the waves for a short moment. Rea­ding, lec­tures, mee­ting all the peop­le on the ship. Others do not enjoy it so much, and for them, the­se days can be qui­te long. It is easy to escape into the idea that the cros­sing will be done in 3 or 4 days, with more or less regu­lar lan­dings. Some­whe­re. No land any­whe­re near? So what! Who cares?

But then you are get­ting bey­ond day 5, 6, 7 … the icy coast of wes­tern Ant­arc­ti­ca will never come in sight, it is as far as the moon. Of cour­se it would be exi­t­ing to go the­re, to see it, even to make a lan­ding, but you would need time and good charts. Time is limi­ted, and good charts do not exist. Well, and once days 3 and 4 have gone by and we have just made a third of the distance, and that is just becau­se the­re is no ice on our cour­se or serious­ly bad wea­ther to slow us down. Some­thing that you can not take for gran­ted in the­se lati­tu­des.

The „ant­arc­tic Odys­sey“, that is how I think of this voya­ge, bears this tit­le with pri­de. It is, over long stret­ches, a very pela­gic expe­di­ti­on.

Gal­le­ry: The gre­at cros­sing – March 4, 2017

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.

So, let’s enjoy the ice­bergs, the wea­ther, the sea and Victoria’s gre­at histo­ry lec­tures and all the other ones that this time has to offer – and that is qui­te a lot! Let’s enjoy the rather sur­re­al fee­ling when the fog makes our litt­le world here shrink to a bub­ble for days, in the midd­le of this end­less oce­an. Two thousand miles. With the speed of a very rela­xed bicy­c­list.

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last modification: 2017-03-30 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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