28th November 2015
We enjoyed a very exciting time at dinner on Silversea Explorer last night – not because of the food, though that was Indian and good – but because of the view out of the panoramic windows, port, starboard and stern. We were sailing through a narrow channel absolutely choc-o-bloc with pack ice.
It was impossible to stay seated at table. I ran to my cabin for my camera and up on deck for a better view, in a silk evening shirt. I regretted not grabbing my down jacket…and stood and freezed, full of awe at the scene before us. The Silversea Explorer is not an icebreaker. I knew that.
This looked like icebreaker territory.
I returned to dinner. Were we going to get through this? It was about 9.00pm. When was the coldest part of the night? At 2.00am or 3.00am? If the temperature dropped, would the open water – what was left of it in the jigsaw puzzle of pack ice – freeze. That had happened to us last time I was down South 14 years ago, but then we were in an icebreaker.
This was exciting. I wasn’t scared a bit. We were in sheltered waters. Actually the child in me really wanted the ship to be frozen in. Shouldn’t say that, should I? But neither should I lie. We all want a bit of excitement now and again!
It was really disappointing when the captain decided to do a rein check and turnabout.
That’s something Shackleton was unable to do. Shackleton’s ship The Endurance was stuck fast in the ice on 18th January 1915 and finally sunk on 21st November the same year. How Shackleton and his men endured 10 months going nowhere through the Antarctica winter is n extraordinary tale, more of which will be in my next blog.