Today has been spent doing some last minute preparations, and making sure that everything is thoroughly tied down and won’t fly around the labs when the ship starts pitching and rolling. Folk headed off into a rainy Punta Arenas for last minute shopping: watches, sea-sickness tablets, tissues and all those little things that will make life easier on board.
We also had to say goodbye to Maureen and Dan, who came to help us set up but aren’t sailing with us. They have both been so immensely helpful – and we’re just hoping we’ll survive without them! Thanks to them both for all their hard work.
After lunch, we all had to go to some very important meetings. We were told all about safety on board (from the lab to the deck) and what to do in an emergency. We all had to try on our lifejackets, and survival suits (not the greatest of fashion statements, but they will do a good job at keeping you alive in cold, Antarctic waters!).
After our briefings, we all finished securing everything down before heading off. Everyone stood out on deck and watched the ropes tying us to land one by one get released. Punta Arenas disappeared into the distance. Leaving port is always a fairly emotional time, and a sobering reminder that we are going to be in such a remote place that very few people are privileged to experience (although, having said that, it is very likely to get bumpy in places!) It’s very important that we look out for each other, and it’s very reassuring that we have worked so well together as a team over the past few days. Let’s see what the Southern Ocean has in store for us.
On a lighter note it’s also Suzy’s birthday today! Many happy returns – what a fantastic way to celebrate!
And, so, we are finally on our way. Next stop: Burdwood Bank.
Weather: 39F, 10 knot winds, very rainy!
Birthday girl Suzy trying on her life jacket. Everyone has a life jacket and a survival suit in their rooms, and it’s really important that we all know how to use them properly!
Eric modeling his survival suit.
The science party during a lifeboat drill. In an emergency, there are two lifeboats and several rafts, and everyone has to crowd into a small space. There are provisions and fuel for two days, and each lifeboat has an officer to steer them to safety.
The science party during a briefing on deck safety, given by Marine Technician Stian.
Photos by Andrew Margolin.