antarctica, and some joshua tree too! travel blog

Ok I decided to post one more short blog while I’m on the ship. As I write this Monday afternoon, we’re still fighting the bad weather on the Drake Passage. Never having been on a ship for this length of time, this is all new to me. We’re only about 20 miles from the relative shelter of Beagle Channel but we’re just making about 5 knots per hour due to the heavy seas. Most of the day the waves have been about 8 meters (25 foot) and I shot a few videos out my cabin window and then some more up on the bridge (which is sometimes open to passengers as long as we remain quiet). Pretty impressive waves we’re pushing through! And the weather changes so quickly. At one point when I was up there it was sunny and bright – but with these heavy winds – and then just like that, we hit a snow squall for about 20 minutes. When that hit, some of the wind gusts were up to 75 knots (about 86mph) which is well above category 1 hurricane strength. But the ship, though small (remember, she carries just 116 of us, plus crew) is holding together well. And after 20 minutes that squall left us and it was sunny again! Weird......unfortunately, the captain has now shut off ALL outside access, even the small areas just outside the bridge, so I’m going stir-crazy.

During the night it was hard to sleep. Although the rocking isn’t bothering me from a seasickness standpoint, it keeps you awake even laying down because gravity is constantly pulling you in a different direction every 2 seconds. It’s not a constant back-and-forth. Also, every so often a wave crashes into my 5th-deck window and that’s noisy. Yesterday I was sitting in the chair in my cabin and big wave made it tip over backwards (which it has often done by itself) but with me in it! I did a somersault and slammed into the bathroom door so now I have a nice little scar as a souvenir of the trip.

The only other thing I wanted to mention was that a couple of different passengers – one Australian, one German – have asked me what I’m doing in my retirement besides traveling. I’ve told them about the volunteer work with the dogs, litter pickup, taxes, and blood donation and they were surprised and said there’s not much volunteering in their countries. I’m not sure if that’s true or if they just don’t hear about it. For the Australian kid I took the opportunity to lay out the three phases in life as I’ve tried to follow: learn, earn, and return. You spend the first portion of your life learning, then you have a career and you earn and perhaps raise a family, and finally you have an opportunity to return – to give something back to your community, society, the planet, whatever your needs and skills and interests are. I hope he gives that some thought......

So that’s it. I’ll wrap up when (if?) we ever hit land and I slog through that 25 hours of flying home. Thanks for reading!

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