Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Storm on the Drake!!

Crash! Bang! Smash! Hang on! Instead of the Drake Lake, we experienced the dreaded Drake Earthquake. Awoke to a Beaufort 9 storm – large waves battered the ship, causing us to stagger and sway down the hallways as we tried to maintain our balance. The order for the day was ONE HAND FOR THE SHIP! Seasick bags were placed strategically around the ship for our convenience. This was our farewell to the frozen continent, a thunderous goodbye of fluffy foam and watery spray as we make our way across the Drake Passage bound for the port of Ushuaia. Albatross and pintado petrels following the ship were not affected by the wind, but rather soared overhead in graceful defiance of the storm.
A smiling and confident Captain Hansen was standing on the bridge with lovely company ready to answer our questions concerning the steering, navigation and general workings of the MS Fram. As usual, he posed for photographs as well. We were very impressed how modern our trim little ship is. The view from the bridge, however, was like riding a rollercoaster up and down with no way to get off. More Crash! Bang! Smash! Hang on! Grab onto the rails! Big waves hurled their liquid summits against the bow of the Fram, throwing up curtains of spray.

The lecture program continued throughout the day, with a guest lecturer discussing the Nature of the Atmosphere. The storm increased in strength throughout the afternoon – it was a continued challenge to remain on our feet. A short nap was a welcome respite from our Drake Dance. The day ended with the Captain´s dinner and his speech where he reminded us to remember the University of Nature, and our unique and rewarding voyage of discovery to the bottom of the world.