In my last post, I ended with fearing the worst part of this journey – seasickness. Well, that night I felt the real power of what people have been talking about. I overheard staff talk about how we were going to head out FAST in order to beat the huge storm front that was coming. While this did not mean we were going to avoid rough seas, it meant that we were going to avoid the WORST. Another vessel elected to “wait.” This pretty much guaranteed that they would be sailing across the passage in horrendous seas.
I was feeling tired. It was a long day of travel and the seasickness medication tires you out. About midnight, I heard something slide and crash. Then I felt the up and down rocking of the boat. It wasn’t like the ship was moving. It was like I was in a baby cradle rocking back and forth! Things were sliding everywhere. I just took a breath and focused on the “positive” of it. Someone was rocking me to sleep! J
Believe it not, I didn’t get sick! Yet, there are no guarantees.
We were awoken by a gentle voice overhead. “Good morning, good morning. It is now 8:30. Breakfast will be served until 9:00.” I could have slept for another four hours. I am not sure if it was because of the medication, darkness of the room or the long days of travel.”
We got up and went to breakfast – however things were different. Ropes have been tied along the hallways. Why? You need them to walk. Everywhere. In the Drake Passage the ship rocks back and forth. At times, you really feel like the boat is about to lie flat on its side! Watching people walk has been so much fun. We all have our own little methods of maneuvering. We stagger. We stumble. We go real fast for a few steps, pause and then wiggle further some more. Sometimes, you just can’t predict when a swell (a giant wave) will come!
At breakfast, we saw people do their dance and balance plates of food! So many near misses of food being thrown up into air! The tasty food is dwarfed by the sounds of screams from the kitchen as the boat suddenly tips to one side. The poor folks in the kitchen don’t know it is coming. I kind of think it is fun!
Today’s agenda had several talks. We had a camera session – how to take good pictures and use some of the advanced camera functions. Then there was a fascinating lecture on the currents of the oceans – I wish my students were there with me to learn about this. After lunch, we had another talk about sea birds and how the geography impacts where they fly, eat, and mate. It wasn’t all about penguins!
It was a full day of lectures and learning. Sometime this evening we are going to cross the “convergence.” This is the area of the waters where there is a quick and significant change in water temperature. The boat is supposed to change directions at this point and we will be heading directly into the waves! It promises to be spectacular with water flying everywhere!
So far, Mr. S. has survived the Drake Passage. The boat is still rocking but not as extreme as this morning. So, we are calm – for now! Not a lot of pictures today. We were at sea the entire time. Photos would have been of people walking funny or getting sick! So far, I have not been sick! Yeah for Mr. S.!
Mr. Szymanski is a 7th Grade Math, Reading and Writing Teacher at Gary Elementary school in Chicago, IL He is bringing the world to his classroom with the help of National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions. Here, he chronicles his adventures to Antarctica and South America in December 2014.