Monday, February 20, 2012

Orne Harbour, where we did not excel, overcome, or achieve!

Friday morning.  The sun, somewhere, is lurking just above the horizon, veiled behind a million miles of heavy, wet, gray clouds.  Maybe.  Certainty, at this early hour, would be grossly premature.  

It is day number ten of our trek across the world and I'm starting to get a bit weary.  I awake feeling as sullen and sodden as the air.  I extract myself from a tangle of arms and legs and climb out of a very warm, deliciously comfortable bed.  I locate the Quark Expedition Bulletin on the floor next to our stateroom door.  It reads "We hope to land... was discovered by Gerlache in... whalers... 
     ...for those who wish to come ashore for a steep hike up a snowy hill to a chinstrap colony at about 200m elevation...

I look at Winnie.
Winnie looks at me.

Personally, I don't want to climb 200m of ice and snow this morning, with or without crampons, to see penguins, or pink penguin poo, or to inhale and swell my chest and lungs with the fishy eau du doo-doo de penguinos.  

We decide to bag it for the morning.  The decision to slack being made, suddenly my mood is elevated, the "sodden" air is now "perfectly crisp for sleeping", and we mull whether or not to sleep through breakfast.  (Perhaps I won't have to enroll in the Betty Ford Food Rehab program after all.) 

Spigot Peak over Orne Harbour

Why do they have to keep serving so much breakfast?  And for so many hours?  After a teeny breakfast snack of gnawing one edge of a burned bagel and washing it down with a tablespoonful of low-cal water so small that it's hardly worth mentioning to those skinny-assed folks at the Ford Clinic, we venture outside to bend some light into pixels.  Exercise.  Bending things.  THAT'S where I'M at.

It's cold. It's gray.  The katabatic winds gust down from the glaciers, marking up the surface of the water, then vanish as quickly as they began.

I head for the other side of the boat to hide from the wind.  It works.  The gusts are small on this side, and temperature much more tolerable.  Note to self:  bring earmuffs next time... the toboggan doesn't even break the wind.  You shouldn't break wind, either, if you're wearing your head to toe rain gear... it does something to your skin... but never mind...
I'm not actually "plus-sized".  The parka's just inflated.

It has been a restful and successful morning.  Winnie and I are replenished and renewed.  Some of our fellow travelers... perhaps, not so much.  They've been working for it.

I reach out with my camera to touch our friends ashore.  The last group has started down from their 200m trek up the snow and ice...

Next, I notice the noisy approach of the first of the returning zodiacs humming along through the brash ice, with a load of...
                                    ...cold, tired, and happy sailors and trekkers.  As it should be.

Back in the stateroom, I unlayer and hop under the comforter to rest for a few minutes.  You know... after shooting all those pixels...  and stuff...  The last thing I consciously hear as I drift... drift... Lunch will be served 12:30 - 13:30 in the Din...

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