Sunday 5 January 2014. Day 29

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05 01 14 - 16:06

Happy birthday Penny. I love you so much and I’m missing you so much. Hope you had a lovely day volcano spotting whilst I am here sailing the southern ocean

I have had such a relaxed day today. It’s been very special. It’s day 3 on the Aurora Australis, day 29 of our journey – the beginning of week 5.

Day 1 on the Aurora was induction and settling in; day 2 I spent writing, writing writing; editing, editing, editing and processing, processing, processing. Working through the previous huge three days took all day yesterday in the end, but by the time I sent off my blog post to Penny to upload late last night I felt a sense of relief of a job well done. At least it was a good day to spend inside: looking out there was horizontal snow blowing past and the occasional curtain of water splashing over the portholes – I didn’t set foot outside once.

I slept long and deeply last night, lulled by a gently rocking sea, and woke refreshed and full of beans. Things I have accomplished today in this state:

  • Ate three excellent meals
  • Walked around the decks, up and down stairs and did stretching exercises on the rails for an hour; enjoying being out, surrounded by the expanse of the foggy grey southern ocean all around. Ive obviously acclimatised to the cold - it felt mild outside I thought, so I checked the temperature on the bridge and it was all of 0.5 degrees! I was wearing a beanie, gloves, thermals,a thick woolly jumper and a down jacket I suppose
  • Read half my book: ‘Mawson’s Will: The Greatest Survival Story Ever Written’, by Lennard Bickel (highly recommended, both as an amazing survival story and with regard to having the will to persevere when everything seems completely hopeless – there’s a lesson there for all of us with regard to acting on global warming)
  • Played two games of scrabble and won one, which included the word BLAZED on a triple word score with the Z on a double letter score – it was a beautiful thing, and a score of 81 J
  • Made two paper boats and a string of paper people as my part of the installation we are preparing to present to the Aurora Australis Master and crew to say thanks
  • Was part of two group photos, also to be part of our thank you presentations. One was out on deck and I was doing a bit of a jig, singing ‘tea for two’, and I realised that these people who have known me for a month hadn’t seen me in such a relaxed cheeky mood before – even after a few drinks. Aurora Australis is a dry ship by the way, so the singing and dancing that can occur after a few drinks will need to be inspired in other ways over the next fortnight – today was evidence that sleep and being relaxed and happy can do it
  • Being part of a group thank you to be broadcast on the BBC Radio World Service science program next Tuesday Australian time. Andrew Luck-Baker who has been travelling with us has produced 4 shows over the last month about the expedition – next week’s is the last and includes this final thank you
  • Continued to feel grateful and thankful for the efforts of the Captains and crew of Aurora Australis, Xue long and Shokalskiy in bringing about our rescue.

We’ve got around another two weeks at sea before we’re home, so lots of time to keep being relaxed and happy. Shouldn't be too hard to do, despite the unexpected circumstances we have found ourselves in.

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