We left Punta Arenas on October 4th to cross the Drake Passage that lies between Cape Horn and the Western Antarctic peninsula. This journey typically takes us about four days, depending on weather. On the afternoon of day one, we were met with 50 knot winds hitting us on the beam, and 25 foot seas on the nose. For reference, the top of the crane in the video below is about 25 feet above sea level and the containers on deck are about ten feet high.
We had waves breaking onto the back deck, and with each new trough, the whole boat would shudder as it took the force of thousands of pounds of white water slamming against the hull.
After about 24 hours, the winds dropped and the seas laid down. On day four, we encountered pancake ice, rising and falling with the swell. This was the first sign that we were nearing Antarctica!
On the evening of day four, we got our first glimpses of the mountain ranges and glaciers that make up the Neumayer Channel that we transit through to get to Palmer Station.
At last, on the afternoon of day five, we tied up at station. Today we are doing cargo ops- delivering fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as lab chemicals, containers of break bulk, and various other supplies. We will remain on station for seven days, before we head back into the notorious Drake Passage.