This morning I woke up and looked out of my port hole. Every time I tried to do this from my lying position I’d bang my head on the low ceiling in the process. This morning was no different!
“Oh No” I exclaimed (right after “Ouch”) as I looked out of the window and saw what I thought was thick fog surrounding us! Then I realised it was condensation! I wiped it away and a sunny day was revealed! Clear blue skies and calm waters! We were going home!
After some time scrubbing the boat from top to bottom in preparation for the new teams arrival, we jumped ship and left on the zodiac for one last trip to shore.
Our 10 seater charted plane was waiting for us and in 3 hours we would be in Puerto Arenas. I can't say I wasn't glad to be getting back on dry land! 3 weeks at sea is a long time for someone who has never sailed before. I missed the road.
This part of my trip has, of course, tested me and my bike in ways that were very different to our previous challenges! Previously we have tackled deserts and mountains, cities and bush. All have been unpredictable and interesting in their own way. This is an adventure after all and this is just the way we like it! Antarctica has added a great deal to our resume!
It was not easy finding someone willing to take me and a motorbike the the bottom of the earth and to finally find someone was an amazing feeling. Spirit of Sydney stepped in when so many before them wouldn't. They accepted the challenge before even figuring out exactly how it was going to work. I liked that. It was my kind of thinking.
The bike seemed to fit on the boat like it was meant to be there and thanks to the expertise of the crew (Cath and Olly), she was loaded on with surprisingly little drama. This had been a moment of dread for me and I was grateful to see her touching down on the deck.
The trip itself was always going to be challenging, particularly for us newbies. It is hard to know what is "normal" and what is a serious situation (although I doubt you can describe ANYTHING as normal when sailing in Antarctica). As always I have written my blog to to try and share with you my feelings at the moment each event took place. As with any adventure worth it's salt, there was certainly no shortage of emotions! I would not change that!
I have always described India as giving me some of my best and some of my worst days. Antarctica (despite being so different) can be described in the same way. I could contradict myself so many times when describing this trip. It was calm yet aggressive, scary yet exciting and so on!
I would like to thank everyone involved for helping me realise this part of my dream. It is a great feeling. Thanks to Cath from Spirit of Sydney for allowing us to be part of the crew on the Ice Bird. The Champagne on that first landing was a particularly nice touch! Thanks to Olly for remaining calm under pressure and guiding us with his extensive sailing knowledge. Thanks to the rest of the passengers (Yvette, Jamie, Sally, Xavi and Pete) who all helped on that first landing and with such encouragement and support. Thanks to Polar Pioneer for agreeing to bring Rhonda back to dry land and thanks most of all to Rhonda the Honda who started on the button first time after SAILING all the way across the Drake Passage. Probably the first motorbike ever to do so! She never lets me down!
THANKS ALSO TO ALL MY SPONSORS AND SUPPORTERS WHO HAVE STAYED WITH ME ON THIS CRAZY ADVENTURE.
Would I do it again? Probably not! Was worth it? It was PRICELESS!
Now BRING ON THE NEXT CHALLENGE!!!