Saturday, 28 December 2013. Day 21.

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28 12 13 - 20:54

Wonderful views, secluded, surrounded by nature, amazing photographic opportunities… there are far worse places to be marooned.

But there’s no doubt the mood of the ship is fairly subdued today. Last night the Snow Dragon was on the horizon, and heading our way. We followed it from when it first appeared as a smudge in binoculars, watching it grow, our hopes growing with it.  ETA was 5am.  A small group of us sat in the bar, watching progress, enjoying the glorious watercolour washed sky, thinking that if there was a time to stay up all night, this was it. Excellent company, and the very nice whisky I’d bought duty free in Christchurch. I’d been saving for the right moment, and last night was it.

The time flew between 1.30am and 5. Sadly the Snow Dragon didn’t. It was clear from round 4 that she wasn’t getting any closer. I went to bed being able to see the two ships, the Snow Dragon and l’Astrolabe, but with more uncertainty than we had had all evening.

We woke this morning to the news that we were back to waiting. The ice was too much for them, too. They were now waiting for the Aurora Australis to join them, which is expected tomorrow, and between the three of them to sort out a plan of action. So we are here for a while yet.

But, what a place to be. It was magic being out on the ice yesterday, with sculptures all round. Just before returning indoors at 11 last night a small group of us spent some examining a giant ice ball some three metres or so across, with small ice cave hollows glowing the bluest of blue, curtained by exquisite icicles. An inquisitive Adelie penguin then appeared almost on cue, to be the next thing for us to train our cameras on, with a backdrop of a sky in glorious pastel shades of grey green and blue.

Today there’s considerable planning of the activities, talks, movies, games to help keep us occupied over the coming days. The talks and discussions about Antarctic science and history continue; I’m honing my scrabble playing, and getting stuck into some of the library of books I brought with me. But now having finished writing this, its 3pm and I’m heading outside into the bracing outdoors for a few hours– we’re still in Antarctica and I’m going to enjoy it for as long as it lasts!


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