Lesley manning the cleaning lab

Today we have been rolling along rather slowly due to snow and poor visibility – and it’s getting colder – last report said 0.4 C. Evan the chief engineer kindly whipped up two new lever bridges that were buzzing on baby harp, and I wrote the third verse of my song. We had an environmental briefing, which included information about Australia’s excellent and continuing environmental strategies and programs to minimise ‘alien’ impact, as well as films illustrating how to keep distance from penguins and other wildlife so as not to stress them. Heartbeats have been recorded on Adelie penguins demonstrating exactly when a penguin starts to get stressed, and how that can impact on their energy systems. If we sit quietly they can approach us – hopefully! Also we had to do a final cleaning of any outdoor wear and shoes – scrubbing and bleaching shoes to remove any soils and bacteria, and vacuuming seeds from inside shoes, clothing and bags.


8 responses to “Snow

  • Isaac

    Sounds like its all happening. Its been good reading the updates and finding out what you are getting up to and the issues you are dealing with.

  • 3W Caringbah PS

    Dear Alice,
    My class wanted to write to you and let you know that they are following your trip. Beth

    From 3W – Dear Alice,
    We are watching and reading your story and are very interested.Does it feel really different playing your harp on the ship? Does the music sound any different on the ship? We hope that you don’t get seasick any more.We think it was really good that you were the first person to see an iceberg.Did you win anything in the iceberg competition? We hope that you see lots of penguins.It sounds like you are having fun there and we wish that we were there with you. We hope that you have a good time.
    From 3W

    • alicegiles

      Dear Class 3W! I am happy you are enjoying reading my adventures. The main difference playing my harp aboard ship is feeling the rocking – with the little harp it’s OK because there’s not much weight to hang onto, but I will see today when they take my big harp out of it’s trunk, how it will be keeping that upright. But more interestingly, the swell of the sea also makes me feel like playing pieces that take time and ‘breathe’ – rocking pieces that ebb and flow rather than regular rhythms. After more than a week I feel that rocking rhythm is part of me and I am hoping that will be something I can always remember in my playing. Also the sound of the ship is quite loud, so I have to get used to my ears feeling a bit overloaded – I am used to more silence around me. The chief engineer showed me the engine room in the lowest part of the ship yesterday. Someone has lovingly painted a poem by Rudyard Kipling up there about the engine being like an orchestra – so I am going to go there to record the engine sounds close up, and I will also copy the poem for you to read if you like.
      Everything is quite calm now and I have my ‘sea legs’ – meaning I am used to the movement and it doesn’t affect me any more. I won a fun painted metal bus full of chocolates, and a domino game as my iceberg spotting prize. I will share my prize (but keep the nice bus!) with Ian of communications, who won the ‘second sighting’. This morning I saw whales in the distance – actually only their spray of water as they spout at the surface in the distance, but it’s exciting to think we might see some closer soon. There have been quite a few albatrosses circling around the ship during the voyage. These are huge birds with a wing span of 2-3 meters. It’s hard to capture that idea of size in a photo, but their large wings mean they can soar over the water without flapping their wings which is beautifully graceful to watch. They can go dipping very close to the water and catch the wind that comes up from the movement of the waves.
      best wishes, Alice

  • Zoe from 3w

    hi its Zoe from 3w!what other animals do you think you will see?Did you see any igloos?

    (p.s I love animals!)

    hope you have a great time
    from Zoe oooo

  • 3W Caringbah PS

    Dear Alice,
    How are you? Thank you for answering all of our questions.We would LOVE to read the poem you were telling us about in the engine room. We love poems. Thank you.
    From 3W

    • alicegiles

      Dear 3W – I have just been down to the engine room (every one was too busy for me to do it the last few days). I have written down the poem and I’ll take a picture next time I go there. I think it’s part of a larger poem, and you might like to check if it’s correct if you can find it written down in a book. I recorded a walk around the engine room – it’s true that each part is like a different instrument in the orchestra – the engineers get used to listening to the individual sounds to check all is well. It is very large and there are many different parts on different levels. They’ve promised me I can go there again when we break through the ice so I can record the sound of the ice going up the propellor shafts – apparently it sounds like nails on a blackboard!

      M’Andrew’s Hymn
      The Crank-throws give the Double Bass – the Feed Pump sobs and heaves
      An’ now the main eccentrics start
      Their quarrel on the Sheaves
      The Rocking Link Head bides her time – her own appointed time
      -till – hear that note?
      The rods return rings glimmerin’ through the Guides
      They’re all away, true beat, full power
      The clanging chorus goes
      Clear to the tunnel where
      they sit – my purrin’ Dynamoes

      Rudyard Kipling 1893

  • annabelle in 3w and anthony in 2m

    Hi Alice,we hope you are enjoying your time at at Antarctica.Have you seen any penguins yet? I hope you enjoyed your time on your helicopter ride. Does the harp sound different on the ship when its rocking? P.S i love Antarctica!

    From Annabelle and Anthony Faccini

    • alicegiles

      Hi Annabelle and Anthony – The harp is very hot on the ship! The radio room where I am practicing seems to be near a heating vent and today I went and put as summery clothing on as I could find to practice. The rocking doesn’t affect the sound of the harp, so it sounds the same but I do have trouble tuning because the ship is very noisy and I can’t hear the true pitch very well, and my electronic tuner has difficulty also. When I got onto land it was beautifully quiet and the air was very clear so the sound of the harp carried a long way. Alice

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