Friday, January 23, 2009

Elephant Island, Antarctica--January 23, 2009

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Our weary Captain broadcast his apologies for our "hard" night. Turns out he and his crew had to navigate through hurricane force winds that advanced 10 meter swells against the ship's hull. Temp 34 Fahrenheit.

At breakfast passengers were swapping tales of being bonked on the head at 2:00 a.m. by flying water bottles and needing to awaken housekeeping for a change in bed linen for bedside glasses of water rudely awakening them. We are on Deck 8 and awoke to our balcony floor covered in water--not from rain.

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How can any of this begin to even merit mention when compared to Shackleton's epic journey when his ship, Endurance, was crushed by pack ice in November, 1915? He and his crew dragged and rowed their lifeboats across the ice to Elephant Island where the crew spent four grim months there before being rescued surviving on penguin and seal meat.

By the time we cruised by Elephant Island the wind and waves had moderated significantly and the fog had lifted enough we could see land masses, one of which Elephant Island.

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Chin Strap penguins by the hundreds did that little arching dolphin dive long side the ship. I was surprised how small they were, 7 decks up. they looked the size of good-sized bass or large crow.

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