December 19th, 2019
Although we were sleeping, the Plancius was chugging away from Argentina and into the Drake Passage. The Atlantic and Pacific Ocean meet here, which makes the seas rougher than most. It’s also at a latitude where no land is in the way to stop it’s strong currents. Add on top of that the high winds the area gets, and it’s described as one of the roughest pieces of water in the world. The trip takes two sailing days, and afterwards the Captain told us how lucky we were since the waves never got above 10ft. Nevertheless, we all premedicated with the recommended sea-sickness medicine, which made me feel as though I was half drunk for a solid 2 days.
What do you do on a boat in the middle of the sea heading to nowhere? The Plancius wasn’t a typical cruise ship with activities. I tried to journal and read, Amy got some reading in, and Charlie played Uno with anyone that was willing. We knew this ahead of time, but Charlie was the youngest person on the boat by 10 years, so anyone missing their sister, daughter, or grand daughter seemed ready to have some Charlie time, and everyone knew who she was.
Although we had met our crew getting on board, the Day at Sea was also a great time to talk to them again. Our trip was led by Ali, a former teacher and explorer who was a wealth of knowledge and excitement, and also had a sweet spot for Charlie. All of the other guides, as a part of their job, had to study and give a lecture about some feature of Antartica, we served as a little evening program. Among other things, we heard about Ice Conservation, The Antarctic Treaty, Penguins, how Orcas are expert hunters, Glacial Geocaching, and of course Shakleton’s journey.
We also got a bit of culture inadvertently. There was an automatic coffee machine for Hot Water, Coffee, and the ‘Weiner Melange’. After several good laughs, someone told us that its merely a milder cappucino.
We also took time to book our activities. Everyday we could get off the boat, but there were a few activities with limited slots – Kayaking, Mountaineering, and Camping. We were warned ahead of time that Charlie might not be able to do the activities based on her age, but Mal, the mountaineering leader, took me aside and asked me if Charlie wanted to hike. Of course she did. He was super awesome and said there was a specific hike that he would allow her to go on if she brought me or Amy. And the kayak guide also said he had a double and would let me and Charlie get out on the water. Amy got signed up for a hike, Brandon, Erin, and I got our camping night, and we were set. Lunch, Dinner, lecture, and some pre-downloaded movies filled the rest of our first day at sea.