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Monday, February 22, 2010

Life in the Antarctic

Fiona McCuaig
Deckhand, Bob Barker

What a day! Welcomed gratefully after two slightly frustrating days of walking in what seemed like a monotonous excursion from the mess to the scullery. The last 24 hours have been interrupted by loud, banging, crunching sounds of uncompromising icebergs hitting the hull. Some of which bring wide-eyed expressions even to the engineers, who surely can’t be too alarmed knowing that we have an ice-class vessel. The scene outside has been one of the most beautiful surroundings we have seen so far - an unfamiliar world of thick ICE! I feel so grateful to be able to be in this amazing part of the globe, surrounded by beautiful undulating white ice sculptures and pristine air that is spoiling the lungs with too much of a good thing. Much respect must be given to the animals that live here in this freezer. Just today we have seen more mammals than we have seen any time before: the Antarctic fur seal, Crabeater seal, and the fascinating Leopard seal. Accompanied by the ever-present Albatross friend as our local guide.

The Nisshin Maru has taken the Steve Irwin and us into the deep depths of the Antarctic ice, hoping they could lose us this way for sure.

The day has been full of great cheer from both crews. We have swapped a few bodies with the Steve Irwin, exchanged rare resources of fresh fruit, vegan meat, anti-whaling tools, and Luke's much needed technical equipment. A slightly awkward moment handing over his parcel which had got misplaced amongst the butyric acid box delivery - unfortunately the smell had already penetrated into the bag and undoubtedly into the wires. Wow… that stuff stinks.

I had a dream the other night that Japan became the world’s top nation in leading the environmental movement. Maybe they can do a u-turn and make up for all their exploitation of our oceans our oceans. Come on Mr Yukio Hatayama, be clever!