Today we sailed down the Atlantic coast of Argentina and were treated to some spectacular views. When were close enough to the coast, we could see the land known as Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire). From what I can see these are jagged islands capped with snow. To me, they look like something out of a Tolkien novel. It was sunny all day so the water is a deep sapphire blue. It was also warm enough to go out in a light jacket and many people took advantage of the weather to sit outside and read a book, or take some pictures.
Our days are not too busy yet. This leaves time for leisure: reading, watching a movie, playing a game, or just talking. A lot of the talking happens in the mess area where we eat. In talking to crew and scientists, I am finding that people come from all over the United States (and the world, for that matter) to work on the ship or at the Antarctic Stations. I have met people from Maine, Texas, Colorado, and New York to name a few places. Not only are these people from different places, they also travel to many different places. Some of the MT’s (marine technicians) I talked to today spend part of their year in Antarctica, then go up to places like Canada and off the coast of Africa for more work. Everyone I have had the pleasure of talking to had an interesting story to tell, which makes our dinner conversations lively.
The swell is picking up down here. There is a noticeable increase in the rolling as we passed between the tip of Argentina and Isla de los Estados (in English: “Staten Island”). Standing at the bow made my stomach drop, sort of the way your stomach drops when coming down quickly on a steep road in the car. Standing at the bow also affords the best view of the ocean swells, the seabirds (I saw a few albatross soaring back and forth across the water) and the sunset behind the nearby mountainous coastline. The only downside to reaching this point in the trip is the sea sickness. Medication helps a bit, as does mint candy, but it seems like the only thing I can do is stomach it for now. Going outside to the deck definitely helps and provides the perfect excuse to be outside.
Looking forward to tomorrow when we are officially in the Drake.