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  • Writer's picturePru Warren


Wednesday, November 17—8:07 AM

Breakfast is over and I’ve returned to my aerie to watch from inside as those going ashore go ashore. We’re at a place called Brown Bluff (which seems like a singularly unattractive name in a land of black and white; like maybe they should have just called it Guano Bay), WHICH I COULD SEE BEFORE BREAKFAST. Now the driving snow (which Lucho helpfully noted was coming in laterally because the wind is blowing so hard) is obscuring any vision of land. People are advised that the walk along the shore to see Adelie penguins will be along “grapefruit-sized” pebbles.

No way. No fucking way. Song and Marianne are determined to go and take selfies with snow on their heads; I told them they could do that on deck as well, but they are determined to take part in our last Antarctic expedition (and in fact our last expedition total, since the only thing left for us is to recross Drake’s passage and leave the ship for the airport in Ushuaia). Both Song and Marianne are so slim and delicate that they’ll need to be roped to a more substantial member of the landing party to ensure they won’t be carried off by the wind.

AH! An announcement from Lucho. The wind is up to 30 knots, there is NO visibility, the shore landing has been cancelled. He actually said the word “storm” which only seems just, given that we are in what would be called a blizzard anywhere else on the surface of the planet. And I feel like—YAY!! Everyone go to your cabins and take a long nap!

One of the naturalists will give a presentation instead, which I will enjoy in the silent luxury of my cabin. It’s wrong to have come so far and be so pleased to be shipbound…but I AM pleased. Yay!

Now: how is the captain going to navigate through the tabular ice mazes with such little visibility? Oh, THIS should be interesting. I’m sure actual vision is secondary to the electronics they have—and I COULD go to the bridge to watch. But I might discover that he’s doing it all by eye and then I’d have to be tense and spooked. And that would interfere with the quality of my nap…

What have we learned on this voyage, Prudence? Let’s review: We’ve learned that I can accept help when it’s offered, and that I don’t have to know where I am or where I’m going. Clearly the exercise to ingrain these two lessons on my psyche will be to leave this icy library and nap happily in my cozy cabin.

If we founder and sink to the bottom of the black and frozen depths and this is my last blog (and as a chronic over-poster, I’m aware that you might regard this with a certain relief!), then know that I went down with the ship, happy and sound asleep. Oooh, I love Antarctica today!

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Nov 19, 2021

So very, very glad you did, not, in fact, sink to the bottom of the black and frozen depths!!

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