Sunday 27th February 2011
Not a lot to report, snow peas on the menu tonight so I prepared those in the kitchen this morning.
There was a group of Emperors just off the trawl deck this afternoon, diving into the water that the ship has brought closer to them and also churned up for them. They are very cute. When they stand with their wings behind their backs they really do look like little gentlemen but then they spoil the image when they drop onto their fat tummies and slide along.
I have finalised the details for the Ceremony and have made an Order of Service with a picture of Phil Law on the front. The Ceremony is still set down for Friday but the forecast is ominous. At sunset tonight there was a bank of very black cloud to the east and it was cold today with some wind blowing. The temperature was -18 deg C and with the wind factor down to the mid minus twenties.
Unloading onto the ice continued. The clothing is fantastic, you do not feel the cold if you are properly dressed. A good aurora is predicted for tonight, as the sky is clear. It will be between 1 and 2 am so I don’t think I will make it. There have been a couple of opportunities to see a green flash, when the sun dropped below the ocean and then on another occasion on a clear evening, when the sun dropped behind sea ice, but as yet it hasn?t happened for me.
Monday 28th February 2011
Things are not looking good here. A blizzard is predicted to arrive this afternoon and it looks as though they might want to leave early. Phil and Nel Law’s ashes went ashore today and they are bringing all the people who are coming home with us, back on board. The indications are that they are keen to get going. Alice Giles is going ashore tonight to play her Concert Harp for the people at Mawson. She was meant to be going for 5 days but that has been dropped to 1 night.
Quite a few outgoing winterers came aboard this evening. The Voyage Leader tells me he is hoping the Ceremony will go ahead on Friday as the weather may be better by then. I certainly hope it all happens and I am relieved to hear that he is going to wait until Friday and even Saturday, to try to achieve that goal.
I have now started watching videos, I was too interested in what was happening outside to watch any before but now I am feeling a little depressed with the way things are going. I watched Tom Hanks in The Terminal and felt much cheerier.
Tuesday 1st March 2011
“Happy New Month?” The planned flights to take the last of the winterers ashore and to bring Alice back to the ship have been suspended until further notice. The temperature has dropped and the wind has picked up. It was reported to be 70 knots at the Station this morning, it is about 28 knots here at the ship. We are dislodging ourselves from the sea ice and moving out into the big polynya to avoid being crushed by blowing sea ice so it will be further for the helis to fly if they are able to do so this afternoon. I spent some time on the bridge today watching the horizon disappear as snow and cloud enveloped us. The Emperors were unfazed and continued to swim alongside us jumping onto the sea ice every so often. The sea is warmer for them at -1.77 degC compared with -12 degC with a wind factor taking it to -25 degC (at 11 am). Wind sensation is labelled “Bitterly Cold” and frost bite would occur in less than 30 min. It’s lovely on the warm bridge and I am choosing to take photos through the window today!
Lunchtime briefing: they have taken the wings off the Helis at Mawson as the wind is very strong and there will be no flights, based on weather predictions, until late Thursday or Friday.
Wednesday 2nd March 2011
Another day of not doing much. This morning the wind had dropped a little and continued to drop as the day went on. It is blowing at about 26 knots at the moment although and at the station it is 60 gusting to 66 knots at present. Vision is better today, I can see the horizon, it was a total whiteout yesterday.
My kitchen duty today was to sort tomatoes into ‘good’, ‘not so good but OK for soup and stews’ and ‘into the bin’ I am surprised how well the fresh food is lasting. The cherries and peaches disappeared long ago but we are still eating paw paw, melons, kiwi fruit and a few green grapes. The winterers who have come aboard are enjoying the fruit and fresh salads. There may be news tomorrow about going ashore if the weather continues to improve.
Thursday 3rd March 2011
I woke this morning and looked out the window to see a whiteout again with the winds gusting to over 40knots. At Mawson it was gusting to over 70 knots so another no-go today. Tomorrow has a better forecast but then again so did today. I am still packed and ready to go so I am living out of my back pack.