A Ship of Blue in a Bright White Sea

| November 16, 2013

Much to my disappointment, we had a smooth crossing of the Drake Passage with mild cross winds and 2-3 meter waves. Sigh. Nice and sunny, lots of Albatros, a few whale sightings and not too many seasick people. I’m sharing a room with Rich Meyer and Kris Erickson and last night Kris put on some Jewel, which seemed like a fitting soundtrack for a peaceful crossing, although it did not go unnoticed or unharassed by fellow guides.

We pulled into an area called Chinguano (spelling?) Bay this morning and tried to get out for a tour, but were thwarted either by steep, icy slopes of excessive brash ice which kept us from getting ashore. Instead, we’ve pulled the Zodiacs back on board and are cruising down to find a new location.

Skiing-wise, the conditions in Antarctica can change radically in a matter of hours due to the extreme nature of the weather. A deep freeze can be followed by a clear, sunny day which changes everything, which is then followed up with hurricane force winds, which change it all back again. There is always good skiing to be had, but it is a matter of pairing up the conditions with appropriate terrain and being flexible.

After a killer lunch, we arrived at Ronge Island and the skiing world was back in balance – the landing was easy, the skiing was plentiful and the snow was soft, not to mention the snoring seals, pods of Orca whales and hundreds of penguins. The only downside was the weather, which was cold and brutally windy.

Once we landed, we were able to summit a nice peak, ski a beautiful col, track up some powder and skirt a huge wind feature. ‘Twas great, as is often the case down here.

Tomorrow we plan on heading further down the Lemaire channel and finding another spot, then working our way back up and tagging line along the way – all subject to change of course.

The adventure continues.

Category: Random

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber and Mountain Unicycle rider. He and Polly Samuels McLean are the parents of two very loud little girls.

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