24th March

Today ( its yesterday now ) was another day steaming along to Macquarie Island, in calm seas and fine weather, not nice enough for sunbaking, but ok. The most interesting thing I did all day was to play an elaborate practical joke on Keith, who is going to be the ranger on Macquarie Island. Two of the young men who’ll be on Macquarie with him, Rowan and Chris, had tried to set him up with a bucket of water a couple of days before but missed, so they were keen to try again. I’ve been taking lots of photos to use in paintings, so I asked Keith, and Peter Cusack, from National Parks Tasmania if they would pose for a photo. I went into a lot of detail about how I wanted them in their green freezer suits against the big red door on the helideck, so the vertical lines on the door contrasted with the bulk of their suits, and that red is the complimentry colour of green, etc, etc. The real reason I wanted them there was that Rowan and Chris could be hiding on the monkey deck above and tip their buckets of water from there. Francis came and videoed it, and they were quite unsuspecting, though Peter told me afterwards that Keith said, just before he got drenched, that something didn’t feel right. The ship rocked a little just as the boys tipped the water, so it missed Peter completely and drowned Keith. We were rolling about with laughter afterwards and the video is very funny, but Keith was a bit grumpy for the rest of the day and it made me think about how practical jokes are not always so funny for the people they are played on. Anyway, now I’m watching my back, I think revenge will be coming, happy easter.

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.