Travels with Paddles

a sea kayaking journal

Axel Schoevers (Photo: A. de Krook) Name:
Axel Schoevers
Rijswijk, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands

Friday, February 10, 2017

Floating Rock

This post was intended to be automatically posted on the Spirit of Sydney blog by ships' satellite e-mail system, but never made it there.

It has been a week since we left Ushuaia. The crossing to Antarctica was 'uneventful' (as for sea state) for we experienced what is called "Drakes' Pond". A relative smooth passage brought us to the Melchior Islands. Along the way we saw hourglass Dolphins and breaching Humpback whales and Albatros. And first glimpses of all white coastlines, ice bergs and chinstrap penguins.

All the coastline is heavily glaciated; crushed by ice. There is only a few meters rocky 'beach' in front of vertical and sometimes overhanging ice cliffs. But those beaches would dissapear on high tide and would not be safe for landing for frequent cracking sounds and spectacular ice falls. Only the smaller islets have some opportunities for landings and safe lunch spots. But those sometimes are taken by fur seals. Very agile animals on land that sometimes rest on the patches of snow 20 meters up and far away from the water.

The floating ice looks all white and snow until one bumps into a foot size 'cube'. Hard, heavy and sharp as granite; floating rocks.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Breaking Waves

Look! Breaking waves ahead where the birds are circling! David calls out from his vantage point sitting high on the rear deck. Moments later we recognize the dorsal fins of a group of dolphins. The word Dolphins is called out frequently and more and more gather on the deck to view the spectacle of a group of hourglass dolphins riding the bow wave and following astern. The water is very clear to see the typical stripes on their bodies.

I was pleased that today I was early for my watch. For the last few day I 'enjoyed' a 'comatose' sleep whenever I lied down. Very possibly the side effect of taking the Stugeron motion sickness tablets. Not a moment I felt any 'queesyness' that I experienced a few times before in the past. The captain recommends to keep taking the pills every 12 hours, just in case.

The ocean turns from almost oily flat overnight to a bigger swell making movement below deck difficult again. I have bumped my head numerous times now creating a sore spot in one place, and 'bang' again, ouch!

After my shift I helped Justine prepare a potato based oven roast. Cutting the veggies and cleaning the dishes I realize I am quite lucky with seasickness this time. I actually enjoy doing this, despite the repeated head bumps and #39;bracing for support'.

Justine reckons another twenty minutes to go in the oven. Another nice meal breaking the surface.

Friday, February 03, 2017

Ready to Sail

Everything organized in the tiniest of spaces I have to sleep in. Overnight snow on the mountains. Ready to sail.