Yesterday we were hunkered down unable to hold anchor in wild weather with winds gusting to over 100 knots. The wind was whipping the water into a writhing carpet of foam, the waves were rolling the ship from side to side and stray items were flinging across the cabins. Clearly landings at Deception Island were not going to be an option and we spend the day talking about how impressive the weather was and how barren the black rocks of this active volcano appeared.
Likewise, the morning was heralded by gusting winds and ominous grey clouds,yet by breakfast the wind was such that you could just about stand up on deck without being flung into the frothing ocean and we decided to have an attempt at launching the small boats and getting to shore. As it turned out the wind gradually diminished and after a couple of hours of strolling amidst the crumbling remains of the whaling station at Whalers Bay, the clouds were trailing away on the horizon and the wind was dropping.
Two hours later we were sailing through calm seas and exploring the brilliant white sea-ice of Pendulum Cove beneath a clear blue sky. Penguins glanced anxiously at us as we followed leads in the ice into the heart of white and I even managed to get sunburnt.
Now we are crossing the Bransfield Strait with the Antarctic Peninsula stretching out before us, the sun glinting of icebergs on the horizon and a gentle following sea rocking the boat gracefully. It is certainly a rapid change but this comes hand in hand with any venture in the South …. It can be horrible one minute and benign the next … I just hope the order of weather does not reverse itself tomorrow when I shall be sleeping under the southern skies in a thin goretex bag while we camp out at Dorian Bay!