It was the storm that wasn’t. What the mate of this ship in 2019 used to call ‘a brouhaha about nothing.’ Yes, she was slamming and for a while, there was quite a bit of pitch and roll, but by breakfast, all it could muster were a few snarly whitecaps.
By lunch, we were in a heavy swell and dense clouds a little to the west of the Greenwich meridian. During the early morning, we passed latitude 40 South and so we are now in the Roaring Forties. This means we are crossing the ‘clipper way.’ In the old days before steam and the opening of the Suez and Panama Canals, the great square-riggers on their way out from Europe to South East Asia and Australia used to circle around by Brazil and then, about where we are now, they would hook on to the prevailing westerlies which would generally carry them to their destination. The further south they went, the more the winds would pick up and the faster they flew, but if they went above the Forties and into the ‘Furious Fifties’ they could find themselves in the ice belt. So it was a balancing act between speed and safety.
I wonder when we will see our first iceberg. When I was younger I used to lecture on cruise ships to Antarctica and we would always give a bottle of Champagne to the first person who spotted one. This, however, is a dry ship. We do have a bar which opens every evening between 8 and 10, but it serves only soft drinks, alcohol-free beers and the usual snacks. For the beer-drinkers on board, and there seem to be quite a few of them, this is hard.
During the afternoon Chad Bonin and I did a live broadcast to a classroom in England. Speaking to schools across the globe is a large part of what we now do. Reaching out to the young was one of the Trust’s leading objectives.
We have now completed some 1,100 nautical miles of our 3,350 n.m. transit to the ice edge.
Those crystalline white shores beckon.
Mensun Bound (Director of Exploration)