Today we all felt we have really arrived in Antarctica. After the weekly morning muster, where various safety equipment was demonstrated to us in the mess, we looked out the window and saw a sea suddenly full of ice floes – icebergs, ‘bergy bits’, growlers – and PENGUINS! Adelies, Emperors, the odd seal, hanging about in small groups, suddenly noticing a big ship coming along and skittering or sliding along the floe and jumping off. Someone even saw three Minke whales this afternoon. I was bouncing about trying to video the ship ploughing through the ice from a lovely hole right at the front, and then I grabbed the field recorder and recorded the sound of it – a crunching, crashing, slushing sound, then a crew member took me right inside the ship next to the hull so that I can get that ice crushing sound as it strikes the steel. The ice is soft on top and seems to crack and fold apart easily.
Amidst all this, I was finally able to take my harp out of its trunk. About 6 crew members unfastened it and pulled it out from all the cargo crates. Best of all it is in fine shape and didn’t take too long to get into tune – I had to do it quickly because they all hung about waiting for a tune! Later in the afternoon they carried it up (via the outside steps!) to a little room behind the bridge at the top of the ship, where I can practice and watch the bergs go by through a window – heaven! Tonight we’ll take it out for a run-through of my Mawson Station program for those expeditioners who leave us in Davis Station. I am fast becoming the ship’s entertainer.

Photos to come in the next few days…


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