Once onbard, and given our safety briefing, we proceeded to leave the dock. This entailed many back and forths to clear the turning basin of ice. Watching the ice from on deck was amazing. It was like a huge moving piece of art work. Ice swirling, breaking, shifting...it was beautiful. Then we left the turning basin and headed towards the open sea through the twelve mile long channel cut in the ice. We did not make it out to the open sea unfortunately, but my roomate Greg and I were extremely happy to be back on a sea-going vessel of any kind. Combined with seal, Minke whale and penguin sightings, we were both very happy boys.
Half way through the cruise I asked one of the crew if they had any coast guard academy cadets on board. I had taught two Outward Bound courses with the Academy and was lucky enough to find an Academy grad who was an officer on board! Two years ago we had sailed on a little wooden pulling boat on the coast of Maine, and now here I was on her boat in the waters of Antarctica. It was much fun to catch up and get news of all the other cadets we had been with.
All too soon, we had to turn around and head back to town. Back to another week of hard work thankful that four hundred of us (in two cruises) now had excellent memories wildlife and ice to keep our morales up. More to come later.