The Aurora Australis docked in Hobart
The Aurora Australis docked in Hobart

By Bianca

We are now somewhere around 60 degrees South, heading along Antarctica’s sea ice coastline until we will start breaking through the ice somewhere near Davis station.

We started our journey on the Aurora Australis last Tuesday, already with a two hour delay, due to cargo, and a further delay has occurred due to strong westerly winds. As soon as we left the protecting shores of Tasmania we quickly learned what’s lying in front of us: the forties and fifties of the Southern Ocean, famous for their roughness. Out on the open ocean we immediately hit a stormy sea with swells up to 6 meters. Good thing we all went to bed and our bodies could get used to it during a night sleep. The next day things didn’t seem too bad.

Stormy weather on the Southern Ocean Image: British Antarctic Survey
Stormy weather on the Southern Ocean
Image: British Antarctic Survey

That however only lasted for a day until we hit another stormy weather front with waves up to 12 meters. That afternoon many of us didn’t feel too good and I think I figured out why. If the ship rolls left to right, which is quite normal, everything is fine. As soon as it starts rolling in all directions, i.e. forwards and backwards and up and down, that’s where you find most people in bed…

I have to admit, it is a very interesting experience, especially in everyday situations like having a shower or brushing your teeth while doing a proper leg workout, trying to stand and not to fall. Getting your food and then balancing the plate while walking to the table, on rough days even sitting on the table and eating is rather interesting (of course on some rough days you don’t even feel like eating at all).

The food on the Aurora is very good and, considering the lack of exercises, way too much! Starting with a big Aussie Brekkie, followed by a warm lunch plus afternoon cake and dinner with desert. Best to behave yourself, or to visit the gym. That on the other hand is another very interesting experience! I have used the treadmill and the bodywork-machine, on the treadmill you have to adapt to very sudden changes in uphill and downhill runs and during your body-workout you experience really easy moments, where you feel like Hercules and then suddenly you can barely move the weights. If you don’t feel like exercising you can read a book from the library, play games or the Wii, or visit the cinema and watch movies. Our highlight of the day is watching two episodes of Game of Thrones daily (although I already have seen all seasons several times). If you don’t feel like any of it, you can either spend some time on the bridge, out on deck or simply in your bed – by far the best place to be!

We are all looking forward to hitting the ice soon, first of all, the movement will stop drastically and secondly there is actually something to see and to be excited about: the ice! Unfortunately, we’ve been told it’ll be the end of the week at the earliest. Until then we will keep doing what we do and fight back our rolling stomachs.

Our progress so far
Our progress so far

(You can track Bianca’s progress on this website)