Saturday, March 22, 2014

Approaching the Drake

21 March 2014
Drake Passage
Day 1, 1900 hours

Smooth “sailing” so far.  I’ve taken a meclizine for the first time to keep the green faced sea sickness at bay.  I do get sea sick if in rough conditions.  It is miserable, indeed, and I want to be able to enjoy this passage as much as possible.  We’ve been underway for around 7 hours or so, very little rocking.  Maybe 5 degrees to one side or the other, maybe less.  We’ve had our safety briefing and even got to get into one of the little orange rescue boats that was featured in the movie Captain Philips.  I really hope I never have to get in one of those. 

And so I wonder, will it get really rough, is this the calm before the storm, or will it be like this?  I try my best to keep tabs on my body, to stay healthy and keep all systems working properly.  Anything to avoid being seasick.  There are many factors: food – type and amount, exercise, hydration, sleep.  Got to stay functional.  So far so good.  A run yesterday and this morning, granola for breakfast, rice and veggies for lunch and dinner with a little cheerios for snack.  Not too much, not to little, no sweets.  A nap this afternoon, and lots of water.  So far so good.  Tomorrow may be another story…

Most folks hang in their bunks or the lounge or take a quick visit outside while we still can.  Right now some folks are watching Anchorman 2 in the lounge as others read or check their email.  Not being part of the ship’s crew, we don’t really have work to do, and so the most important messages from the Chief Mate are Don’t get hurt, Take your sea-sickness meds, and Don’t leave the toilet running!  Basically our job seems to be survival. 

Day 2, 1700 hours.

We’re now almost to the Drake Passage.  Much of the day was beautifully sunny and calm.  Continued rollers from behind, gently roll under, gently roll through, little motion on the ship.  No placemats needed in the galley.  Sunny outside.  A bunch of us gathered on an inflatable dinghy, some in tee-shirts, as if we were out for a little cruise in a small boat.   A group of mostly Antarctic veterans, many know how to make the most of good weather, and always in the back of our minds is that we’re headed for cold, ice, wind. 

Now, however, we are near the horn, the seas no longer only come from behind.  We have turned further south and the seas seem more confused than the quiet rollers from the stern.  Beautiful land masses on both sides now as we skirt as much south as we can through the southern end of Argentina.  The rolls are bigger, but mostly we’re pitching now, which is better than rolling.  The frequency is shorter, I imagine some are starting to feel queesy.  I can feel the accelerometer in my stomach and brain…measuring the G-forces both higher and lower than our normal 1.0.  I must be careful now.  Pay attention to the body.  Be on the lookout for the burps…, often my first sign.  Had an afternoon nap, feeling a little zonked.  But soon for dinner.  The endless stream of movies have taken a break, I imagine as people nap.  Today’s highlights included The Dark Knight and Office Space.  I busied myself by making a little sonar unit with my electronics kit.  It now lights one LED if it detects something less than 4 feet away. Two LEDs if it’s something less than 3 feet away, and three LEDs for less than 2 feet, and the all four if it’s under a foot.  Very entertaining for me.  Two burps. But still feeling alright.  Walking the corridors becomes a game.  Walk through without touching the side rails.  No V8 for me today.  Pictures come later.  Shipboard data allowance is 50MB a day.  Words for now. 

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