Arrival in Antarctica

Lars Alfredson
Thu 5 Jan 2012 22:11
Pos 64:19.212S 62:54.998W

First comes Urbans blog in Swedish followed by Bob.

Hej !

Vi är nu framme efter en fin översegling. När vi närmar oss möts vi av Knölval som vinkar med stjärtfenan. Solen skiner från en klarblå himmel. Närmare land måste vi runda stora isberg som ligger i vår vägen. Vårt mål är Melchior Island. När vi följer vår väg på sjökortet som finns på en datorskärm visa den att vi åker på land. Här kan man inte helt lita på sjökorten. Vi letar oss in bland öar där pingviner nu möter oss. Hade vi inte haft bra beskrivningar på denna plats hade vi inte hittat vår ankarplats. Vi alla hade en föreställning om öar med lite snö på. Nu känns det som vi ligger i alperna med båten. Nära oss har vi en snövägg på säkert 40 meters höjd.

Efter en natt med en båt som inte gungar, ingen vakt är vi fulla av energi av att få röra på oss. Peter, Urban, Lars och Thomas åker in till stranden. Här möts vi av en sovande Weddell säl. Den störs inte av oss. Vi står ungefär 5 meter ifrån den. En liten snarkning hör man. Vi ska nu promenera upp på ön. Här är bara snö. Efter några steg sjunker benet ner till knät. Varje steg vi tar sjunker foten ner en bra bit. Vi ger oss inte utan tar oss upp på en höjd. Här finns lite sten så vi bygger en liten pyramid som minne efter oss. Enklaste sättet att ta sig ner blev att lägga sig på rygg och glida iväg. Vi fick fin fart ner. Efter lunch har vi som mål att ta oss upp på en högre topp. Nu har vi laddat med soppsäckar för bättre fart ner för berget. I solen och djup snö bestiger vi nästa topp. Utsikten går inte att beskriva. Nu ser vi hur vi tagit oss in bland öarna. Vi har lite svårt att förstå att vi står på en ö i Antarktis. Färden ner blir en succé. Farten ökade betydligt med hjälp av säckarna.

Nu är vi här och planerar nu vilka platser vi ska besöka. Ett större mål är att vi ska göra ett försök att komma nedanför södra polcirkeln. Imorgon ska vi börja segla söder över om vädret tillåter.


04012012 Icebergs

After and uneventful night the wind has dropped as forecast and we have to motor to keep up our speed. The sea has settled and we are pushed along by a long rolling swell as it rolls underneath us. With the decreasing wind we are enveloped in a world of grey, grey fog, grey sea and a grey sky all merging together.

Around 4pm the fog has lifted and Ton ton (Thomas Nr1) spots a large sail in the distance as well as our first glimpse of the snowy mountains of Antarctica, on the horizon.

Passing between the two big islands the sail turns out to be a massive pinnacle of rock standing out to sea off one of them. As we near our destination, we spot a pair of Humpback Whales who glide past with a wave of their enormous tails.

The snow covered mountains are spectacular. The ones ahead of us, lit by the sun look high but then the cloud clears and they pale into insignificance when the towering heights of the ones to our portside are revealed.

Nearing our destination we weave our way through our first small niblets of ice until we have to navigate through several large icebergs. These glisten spectacularly in the sun as a turquoise sea laps their fringes.

As great walls of snow closes in on us we tuck ourselves into a small cove under the watchful eye of a single penguin, hopping along the shoreline. After a couple of tries we finally get the anchor to bite and then run a shore line to hold us steady.

We now have all around protection and as the waters are a shallow 10metres the larger icebergs will be grounded before the can get in here and cause any problems.

A colony of Terns are roosting on one of the few bare patches of rock to our stern, the lone penguin has now disappeared into the sea after several abortive attempts at climbing the snowy slopes and failing

A last we can relax. The yacht is on an even keel, in the still clear waters of our own little pond and its time for the "Anchordram" The evening sun reflects off the snowy cliffs that surround us and it's relatively warm as there is no wind. The air is a crispy 5 degree thought it feels much warmer in the sun and the water in the cove is up from 1.3C to an inviting 3.5C for those that way inclined.

05012012 Expeditions

Having had a good nights sleep its time to get the yacht shipshape and tackle those repairs. Thomas repairs the door hinges while Lars is hoisted up the mast to sort our broken navigation light. I get the washing up with a little help from Peter with the tea towel then its vacuuming and blogging.

Jobs done, the exploratory expedition party set off ashore while I finish blogging and Tonton get on with the cooking for lunch on their return. It's a beautiful day with the sun blazing down giving 6C in a very nippy light breeze, the water stands at 3.4C.

Every now and then you hear the swoosh of loosened snow falling into the sea. On less than vertical faces, lumps have broken off overhangs and the have left tracks as they have tumbled downwards, those that didn't make it stuck in mute testimony to their failure.

With the explorers return we lunch with the news of a lone wedell sea lion sunning itself on the rocky shore line and a discussion regarding sledging using plastic bags on the return trip.

All fully kitted out the first dinghy load set out for the shoreline. The sea lion pokes his head up to see what the fuss is about before returning to his slumbers. Stepping onto the snow we start up the bank. All is well at first as I follow in the previous footsteps then suddenly I'm up to my nether regions in snow and so it continues. One minute you sink a couple of inches then crash you through which makes the going both slow and difficult.

The sledging party head for the opposite hill while the camera crew gather on the lesser slope. And away they go! Surprising what you can do with and old bin bag.

After all this fun Tonton and I go exploring in the dinghy and find a group sea lions sunning themselves on and ice sheet who totally ignore us as we motor up to photograph them. A quick wiz round a few more channels and as the snow in my boot has melted and toes are freezing its back to the yacht for happy hour.

On the way back a great chunk of snow falls from one of the faces with a giant splash sending a mini tidal wave towards us and fills the sea below with mini icebergs. On our return we find everyone has been showering though there is no hot water. What do they care they're Swedish where rolling naked in the snow is a national pastime!!

In the interest of public heath and hygiene I guess I'll have to bite the bullet and give it a go.

Bob the Blog