1st March

We are steaming past more and more icebergs. I walked around the upper deck this morning and counted 14, some in close, white as white, and others far out on the horizon, almost blending into the sky in a hazy grey. One monster we passed this afternoon had a flat top tilted towards us, criss-crossed with crevasses, and where the cracks broke through the side, the sun was shining through in glowing blue, really beaming, as though it was lit from within. Sometimes today the weather was clear and sunny, hot if you were out of the wind, and the next minute it would be snowing. After lunch, Peter the Mate ( its like the deputy captain ) continued his tour of the ship and today we looked at the rescue equipment. If someone fell overboard you’d throw them a life ring, though the water is so cold you would probably be dead before you could reach it. Next size up are the life rafts, white capsules about 1 metre long, lashed to the deck, but which inflate into rubber rafts with canvas tops when tossed over board. Then come the life boats, one on each side, big orange capsules. They look like giant kinder surprises and I hope I never have to get into one, other than for a look. They fit 68 people, sitting side by side on hard fibreglass seats and the toilet is a bucket. There is a motor and steering equipment, but once you run out of fuel there are oars, and its nearly 2000 nautical miles to Hobart. There are water tanks, but the water would be frozen, so that could be tricky, and the food is sea biscuits. The safety equipment includes fishing line and hooks, can openers and waterproof matches. Anyway, the Aurora Australis feels very safe, so I am going to bed to sleep peacefully, zzzzzz

Other items

21st February

Its about 5.00 pm on my first day at sea. We are 200 nautical miles south-west of Hobart in fairly calm seas. I’m still finding my sea legs but haven’t been sick. The anti-seasick tablets make me very sleepy and I had a delicious sleep last night, feeling snug and safe in my bunk as the ship crashed through the sea.

22nd February

Ít doesn’t really feel as though I’m on my way to Antarctica. It feels more like I am on a floating health farm, fabulous food, great gym, no stresses or worries. It has been foggy all day today with calm seas but even so I am very careful about going on deck. It’s such a big ocean that I can’t help imagining how terrible it would be to fall overboard. I watched shearwaters ( mutton birds ) flying around the ship yesterday.