The Drake Passage

Thursday, 13 March

Drake’s Passage lives up to its notoriety. We passed out of the Beagle Channel and hit open ocean at about 01:30. Even though we are east of Cape Horn – the oven, as it is in its true translation – the waters are indeed a cauldron. We were told that once over the continental shelf it would calm and resolve into swell. This didn’t happen.

View Google Satellite image of Drake’s Passage
All night, all day – despite the sea sickness pills, the only thing to be is flat out in bed. A few escaped the effects of the Drake and I meet them at breakfast. I manage a couple of slices of watermelon while they tuck into scrambled eggs and hash browns. I manage to keep breakfast for all of 15 minutes. Cim couldn’t face the stagger down two decks.

Supposedly, going on deck and watching the horizon has a calming effect. It’s marginal. The swell is huge with giant waves on top of that. The picture I took is on deck 4 and waves were coming way higher than that. Still there was bird life, including storm petrels doing their trademark walking on water as they forage. They seem to spontaneously emerge from the sea only to vanish just as quickly.

Further in the distance, the seething soup produces steely grey battleship shapes and whole cityscapes momentarily on the horizon. The ship just ploughs through churning the grey into green, and topping it off with white foam. Up on the bridge, with the panoramic view, you can see the waves approach from the side, crashes through us and continue on their trek from the Pacific and into the Atlantic.

My Dad, a navy man during WWII, described “taking it green” as we are doing on occasion: taking a wave head on with it smashing over the bow. Ross has a fantastic picture of that (to be posted). The expression is supposed to describe the colour of the waves as you hit them, but it more accurately describes the colour of my skin.

/Jerry

When we set off from Ushuaia to Antarctica we were told that it would be quite rough weather. Jerry and I prepared ourselves by taking anti-sea sickness tablets. We were also told to make sure that we didn’t have any loose stuff in our room, that might brake or even injure us, if it got rough. If…

We went to bed and after a few hours it really started to sway – big, big waves. I felt fine at first, but because you have to get up and go for a wee or two the sea really started to get to me – especially as you had to hold on to the walls to stay on the loo. Jerry was quite fine at the time. He had to get up every few minutes as something else came loose and started rolling around inside the fridge or sliding across the floor. At one point, a chair fell over with a crash as the ship tilted horribly. Jerry got up and I saw him first on one side of the cabin and then run past the door as the ship lurched in another direction, only for him to come sliding back across the floor on his hands and knees. Even though I was feeling terrible, I couldn’t help laughing.

Later I was quite sick. I remembered this how it was before my transplant; not all the time, but I constantly felt a bit queasy, found it difficult to eat, and sometimes I was as sick as of being on Drake’s Passage towards Antarctica. On the ship, even though I felt quite horrible, I was lying there thinking how lucky I was, I just had a couple days feeling like this, and how some people with renal failure waiting for a transplant don’t know how long the sea is going to be rough. If you are healthy, the next time you feel ill, maybe spare a thought for people with renal failure. You’ll probably be fine very soon, but they might have a longer wait than you. Better still, help us in our campaign! Always room for a plug for Transplants in Mind 🙂

/Cim

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: