Another day at sea today, so, another day of lectures, a ship rolling left and right, and passing the time. It’s getting noticeably colder outside (now around 42F) and inside (maybe down to 66F) as we steam ahead; we entered the polar convergence mid-day. The ship is moving at a rate between 11 and 12 knots pushing again a mild current. We expect to reach South Georgia tomorrow evening, but we don’t yet know if we’ll get to make a landing tomorrow or what. The schedule we got at dinner tonight, which so far has been a full day’s schedule, tomorrow only goes through 2:30, because we don’t yet know how fast we’ll travel overnight and where we’ll be tomorrow.
This evening we watched a slide show made up of photos submitted by we who are on the trip of what we saw in the Falklands. Melinda and I contributed five photos, some from my DSLR and some from my little Lumix that Melinda’s been using. Penguin tracks, a caracara on my boot, and an albatross silhouette in a sunset were well received. They’ll do this again after South Georgia and after the Antarctic Peninsula, so we’ll get more chances to contribute.
We did our biosecurity screening for South Georgia today. South Georgia is super concerned about introduced species of plants or animals, so the rules are that one must vacuum out every nook and cranny of all outer clothes, bags, and gear that will ever go ashore to the island. There’s been a station of four vacuums down the hall from us for the past two days, running nearly continuously, sucking out all the little seeds, lint, soil, and dust that’s built up from everyone’s bags and such. Fortunately for Melinda and me, our gear is nearly all new, so it had very little material that needed to be removed.
The seas have less swell this evening than they did yesterday, but we’re still getting a few degrees of roll. Nothing that will keep us awake tonight, but we _are_ still at sea. Yesterday the staff set out seasickness bags every two feet along the corridors; today they’ve been stowed, so I’ll take that as a good sign. Last night, just before we turned in, the staff announced that the water system had ruptured a pipe, and although there was a spare boiler and tank, the water from that tank wasn’t potable (it hadn’t been flushed since being installed, and the water spelled like paint). Brushing teeth using bottled water is awkward at best, but it beats not having water at all. By this morning the situation had been resolved, thankfully. In the stern of the ship where the zodiacs are stored, there’s a rack of lengths of pipe with fittings for bolts. I guess that’s how ocean-going vessels go – they need to make repairs while at sea, so one needs to bring extra lengths of pipe, everything needs to be of a few common sizes, and pipe and other materials need to be ready to be used, not needed to be cut to length and such. There’s a metal workshop, an electrical workshop, and, well, the helicopter hangar (sans helicopter) that all are used for repairs.