25th February

I am loving this trip. Last night at about 10.30pm a green aurora stretched across the sky, shimmering and dancing in front of the stars. It began way up ahead of the ship ( the south/west I guess ) and swooped right over us in a wide band of neon green, then finished in a swirl. It was as though Casper the ghost had zoomed across the sky then disappeared with a flick of his tail. Auroras are made by particles charged by the sun that are magnetically drawn to the poles. They occur near the Artic circle too. It was beautiful to see and I think we will see more, and different coloured ones, as we travel south. I have been given a small room near the back of the boat ( the stern? ) to work in and it has the most incredible sound effects. The Aurora has a ballast system to help keep it even in rough seas, and this involves shifting water from one side to the other through a series of valves and pipes. As the water moves it groans and howls and squeaks and bangs, so that it seems like the ship is talking to me. I spoke to the Mate today, Peter, and he is going to show me around a level of the ship every day, so I can describe it to you. I think there are about seven levels, so I’ll start with the top one tomorrow,

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.