Wednesday, 4 March 2015

22 February - Entering the Lamaire Channel

From Vernadsky we headed North along the Lamaire Channel.

The weather has been horrid over the last couple of days. Rain, snow and wind. We had an ice burg hit us during the night and we lost one of our lines so this morning there was a mission on to get a new line out to ensure we were secure and not swinging wildly while we prepared to leave. It was a lot of effort considering we were not going to stay long but the wind was too strong and unpredictable to take any chances. We have had a couple of smaller bergs hit us already. These are generally redirected with the Zodiac.

After breakfast (Yvette and I made french toast), we all got on deck and started releasing the lines again so we could go. The wind was against us still and it was a battle to get the timing right and the lines pulled in as soon as they were released so as not to get them caught in the props! We had to drive forward straight away and in to deeper water before we were blown around and in to the rocks.

All was going well with great teamwork on deck. Chabbi and I were on the aft pulling in ropes, Olly
was at the wheel, Cath and Sally were in the zodiac releasing the lines and the rest were at the bow. Suddenly there was an almighty bang and the boat flew sideways to an angle of about 45 degrees, leaving us grabbing hold of whatever was nearby to avoid being flung overboard. For a second it looked like we were going over but then it righted itself and everything went quiet -  Like someone had pressed pause!

Were we damaged? Were we stuck? What had just happened? This is the biggest problem with sailing if you are a novice! It’s hard to know if you are about to die or not!! It turns out we had hit a rock. Although the depth meter said we were at 8 meters (we only needed 3.5), there must have been a big rock sticking up which hit the keel.

We were free as soon as we had struck and with Ice Bird being a steel vessel, we were safe - This time! It was a scary moment.  I wish I'd been filming. No injuries aside from two of the crew falling over and landing on top of each other, resulting in minor bruising.

I have certainly come in to sailing at the DEEP END! No gentle introduction for me!

Once we had pulled in all the lines, I set about butchering some more of lamby the lamb so I could
make a tagine for dinner. Its not easy on a rolling deck in the rain but strangely satisfying none the less! The tagine is now cooking and I am in that minor state of anxiety I get when cooking for people. Wandering if it will all go horribly wrong. Is there enough meat? Did I put too much cumin in? Give me an iceberg any day!  I’m not a natural in the galley!

The weather is getting gradually worse and less predictable as we travel North. I'll be glad to get my feet on solid ground. With all night anchor watches required at every stop now, people are getting tired and perhaps a little nervous. Thankfully Olly remains calm and gives clear instructions on deck when all hell is breaking loose. However, he too is new to Antarctica and so we are ALL on a massive learning curve and at the mercy of this mighty, yet stunningly beautiful continent.

The parties are a distant memory.


  1. Wow! This part of your journey is an awesome adventure, Steph. Nothing like uncertainty to raise the spirit and sharpen the senses. You'll be able to live these moments for the rest of your life, I'm sure. I really enjoy following this.

  2. Don't trust this crazy North Walian granny. She didn't finish her lamb or drink the green party liquor. Bizarre.

  3. Good stuff Steph!

    Czes x

  4. change of underwear required I would think after that lol. thankfully all`s ok.where are you heading now ? good luck. xx

  5. I thought I was having adventures in the desert of California. We couldn't be any further apart in scenery. We are also heading north to home in Canada after 4 1/2 months in the deserts of Arizona & California. I'm getting very anxious to meet you when you come through Kelowna. Perhaps I can meet up with you on the road somewhere in British Columbia and I could show you some of our magnificent scenery.....until then...Dennis