7th March

I am jumping out of my skin because our ship is moored in Horseshoe Bay at Mawson station! When I got up this morning we still stuck in the ice, going nowhere, but the wind blew and blew, and shifted the ice to make a clear passage for the ship to go through. I stood up on the Monkey Deck, the deck above the bridge, all the way in, and it was fantastic watching the ice and frozen islands. I have never been in wind as cold or fierce; I couldn’t hold the camera steady and I couldn’t stand up unless I was sheltering behind something ( or someone ). From where we were stuck in the ice, the mountains behind Mawson looked like they were poking up through mist, but as we drew closer we could see that it was ice. Imagine four jagged mountain ranges, ancient spires of grey rock, sitting a bed of ice thousands of feet thick. It seems a perfect place for knights and dragons . The islands near the harbour have no plants at all, just plain rock and penguin poo. They are fringed with white, which at first I thought was waves, but is actually ice frozen in splash shapes. We passed so many different types of ice today; some groaned and banged as the ship pushed it aside, and another type splintered like glass as we crashed through it. One lot of pancake ice was so soft that it didn’t crack at all. Anyway, I’d better go, I need to get ready for my first day ashore.

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.