Sea Legs


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Yesterday was…I’m not goingto talk about yesterday other than to say that the Promethazine let me down. I got out of sync with my dosing, and by the ship’s breakfast time I wanted nothing more than to lie flat in my rack with my eyes closed and hope someone would come by and smother me with a pillow. It wasn’t until late afternoon that the Scopolamine patch I’d switched to let me slowly and gingerly return to my usual “upright and locked” position.

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But I’m all better now. A lot of it is the reduced sea state. It’s not like we’re cruising the mythical “Drake Lake”, but it’s a lot smoother than when we first poked our bow out from behind Tierra del Fuego. Pretty much as soon as we got out into open water we started getting smacked with quartering swells that had us rolling like a toddler’s bath toy. We’re through the worst of that, and now, with the help of my buddy Scopolamine, I’m on my feet, getting work done.

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Most of that work is cleaning up and updating ship systems. This is a station turnover cruise, so the passengers are pretty much along for just the four days of crossing, which I think has made them less antsy about getting online. Which has in turn made my days fairly quiet and predictable: up around 7:00 to get dressed and sift an initial batch of overnight email, then forward to the galley for breakfast. Maybe out on the deck to immerse myself in the saltwater coffee that’s blowing spray in our face at about 20 knots. Then down to the ET shed to check out admin email, make sure nothing’s blinking, and pull the next item off my TODO list: documentation, swapping out a tape drive, more documentation, installing updates on the lab computers, cleaning up someone else’s documentation, etc etc. Then lunch, then more of the same. After dinner, swing over to the lounge to see what movie they’ve got on the big screen, then, after a few minutes of that, around the corner to the sauna storage room, where there are a couple of guitars. Then back to my bunk to read a little, then lights out, and repeat.

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The bunks are small, but they’re comfortable, and I’m sharing my cabin with Hector, who wintered over at Pole last year as a sat tech. He’s our Electronics Tech on this trip, and in spite of never having sailed before, has taken to his role like he was born to it. There are a lot of Polies onboard, actually, and they’re helping me remember why that season I spent down there stays with me so. They’re uniformly laid-back, gregarious, helpful and frighteningly competent. We haven’t yet seen the Station, but I’ll admit that I’ve found myself thinking: if these are the peeps I’d be working with, I’d be all-in for wintering at Palmer Station some day.

But not this year. Too much else on my plate. And we still have to get through the Drake.


6 responses to “Sea Legs

  1. Looks like a bit different ship from the Seaventure! We are discussing the fact that we’d like to go back. Who knows maybe we will!!! Glad you found a new buddy. Scopolamine is great!


    • Yay! We just made it down the Gerlache and into the Neumeyer channel – memories of Polar Latitudes. Wind is too strong for us to dock at Palmer Station tonight, so we’re running slow racetracks until tomorrow morning.


  2. Thanks for the informative update. Not sure what a lot of your tasks actually involve but it sounds like you are very busy—so glad to hear your meds finally kicked in so you’re no longer sick all the time. I hope the “rough” part of the Drake will not be a lot worse than what you’ve already endured and now that the meds are working for you, you won’t be so miserable. It’s also good to read your impressions of your Polish associates. Have been hearing and reading lots of good things about Poland and Polish people lately. Do none of them ever get seasick? Kittens say to send you purrs but they have decided they will not apply for berths as ship’s cats to find out more first-paw about your great adventures. They want to remain dry and where they can come inside if it rains. This all sounds like great experience should you wish to further pursue your writing career as a kind of high-tech Jack London. Rock on out there on the rolling sea, Annie, Bindi and Fitz



  3. Glad your seasickness has abated. Sorry you had to go through that. Sounds like you’re in your element aside from that. I’m glad you’re getting to be back at it. We’ll all look forward to seeing you upon your return and hearing more about your trip.




  4. Glad you are through the seasickness. As a relatively new person to your blog, I was interested in your comments about Hector and your future “peeps.”
    P.S. The mythical Drake Lake exists. On our only venture that way on a larger and probably less seasickness-prompting cruise ship, my photos were of water so calm a person from Holland America later used one in a publication. On the other hand, the captain said it was the only time he had experienced it in 50 passages.

    Liked by 1 person

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