Tuesday 31 December. New Years Eve. Day 24

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31 12 13 - 20:52
I’m in much better spirits today. Couldn’t quite bring myself to write yesterday – feelings of homesickness, missing Penny, family and friends, uncertainty of how long we are going to be here for, and how exactly we will be getting out of here were rather overwhelming me. I think quite a few of us felt similarly. Judy instigated hug day and set herself the task of hugging everyone on board. It was much appreciated!

Crappy weather certainly didn’t help. I know that if I’m feeling low that exercise and getting outside will instantly make me feel better; so getting out on deck or even better on the ice and snow around us has been a regular part of my day. However yesterday it was very windy but not that cold, with sleety rain rather than pretty snow flakes, and when I tried to do some energetic walking around the deck I slipped in the wet snow and ended up damp and cold.

In contrast on previous days I’ve set myself the task of walking for an hour around the decks, up and down the stairs, up on the top deck, down to the 4thlevel and around the bow, down to the third level, out to the stern, doing loops and figure of eights, enjoying the company of the birds and the view over the ice and snow. It’s easy to raise the tempo by doing the stairs a few times, doing some stretching on the rails, fitting in a few yoga exercises as I go. I was photographed the other day doing warrior pose on the top deck by Andrew our crew photographer, and he’s just told us this morning that National Geographic have accepted a set of his photos from the ship, so who knows who may see this photo! I hope my yoga teachers from Yarraville Yoga don’t look at it with too critical an eye!

The other thing I know that improves my mood immensely is being creative. I’ve been missing making music with people, which is a major creative outlet for me. (Hello Footscray Gypsies and my very old friends from the Multicultural Choir at the Footscray Community Arts Centre all those years ago!)  I led a great session of Christmas Carols on Christmas Eve, but there hasn’t been a big music making culture on board so far. I didn’t bring my violin and sadly the one guitar on board now has a broken string.

There are some keen dancers though - we had great fun with a dance session on ice two days ago, and our flash mob that resulted from that. It was being inspired by that that led to a major uplift in my mood last night – I started to write a song to go with the ‘ice core’ dance sensation.

And Nicole, Ian and Terry joined in… and we’ve now got a singing workshop planned for this morning for others to learn the song and write the final verse ready for our New Year’s Eve celebrations tonight.

Given the media interest in our plight I expect you’ll see some of it online if not on your TV screens! The best places to stay in touch with us are via the Guardian website (where I’m told an interview with me is on one of the latest video posts), twitter and spiritofmawson.com. Apparently the blog posts on spiritofmawson haven’t been updated for the past week L, but there are individual video diaries being filmed and uploaded daily.

The latest news on what happens next to us is that it’s seeming more and more likely that we will be evacuated by helicopter once the weather clears (it’s considerably better today btw– quite reasonable visibility every so often.) Aurora Australis is not making good progress with the ice, and Snow Dragon is struggling to get through to meet her so they can have a go with the two of them.

If we are evacuated the Russian crew would be left on board, with the latest news this morning that a huge Russian icebreaker, the Federov is now on its way to break the ship out. It will take some time to reach us (which is why an air evacuation of us passengers to the AA is likely to take place in the meantime), but the expectation is that this humungous ship will be what sets the Shokalskiy free.

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