Sunday 11 December 2011

A day in the life of a Fram passenger

Despite the meteorological threat of a low pressure zone ahead of us, we awoke to rather calm seas in the Drake Passage – a welcome thing for all on board MS Fram! Gently rolling seas and mild breezes meant we could get on with life as usual, which today included various interesting things.
After breakfast, we began our preparations to land in Antarctica, both procedural and practical. The first aspect was dealt with by briefing our passengers of the “Dos and don’ts” of Antarctic behavior, a modern day equivalent to America’s popular XIXth century guidebook “The Laws of Etiquette; or, Short Rules and Reflections for Conduct in Society”. So, in an analogous manner to the “Etiquette’s” paragraph informing readers that they “may wipe their lips on the table cloth, but not blow their noses with it”, we recommended that our passengers may approach the wildlife to a sensible 5 meter distance, but not try to touch it as we are not in Disneyland. Another of the Antarctic “don’ts” is to bring life forms from other places into the white continent, which is why we spent a good part of the morning vacuuming the backpacks and other gear we’ll bring along during our landings.
Our German and French speaking passengers visited the bridge today, where Captain Hårvig explained them the art of navigating a modern vessel like MS Fram, as well as the many technological advances that make it an easier task – which naturally does not exclude the need for many years’ experience at sea!
After lunch, passengers enjoyed a quiet afternoon, admiring the vastness of the ocean from the comfortable seats of the panoramic lounge on deck 7, whilst enjoying freshly-prepared waffles; listening to the lectures on various Antarctica-related subjects; watching one of the historical movies depicting polar exploration we screened in our lecture theatres; and also, peacefully enjoying a nice nap and making good use of the gentle rocking we have been treated to all day long…