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20 March, 2000

You Can't Get There From Here

72 54 s 103 54 w

Temp 0 C (32 F)

Winds NE 48 knots (55mph)

Barometer 989 mb

Not a whole lot to stay because, like a lot of other people on board, I'm catching up on my sleep. The last few days have been busy working and writing, and I need the rest. I overslept an hour coming on watch at midnight, but nobody woke me because we are not coring. I don't mind at all. The extra hour in my bunk felt good, almost like a day off! We have been trying to force our way through pack ice north to the Abbott Ice Shelf and Thurston Island. There is a nice open water crack on satellite images, all along the north shore of Thurston Island, but the problem is getting there. The captain finally decided, after getting blocked repeatedly, to go south and west again. Then we can move north around the pack ice blocking our eastward path. Since we are returning more or less the way we came, we are not taking cores or CTDs, but SeaBeam imaging, seal, and ice observations continue.

I did get a chance to get out on deck and take some pictures, then I found a sheltered spot and just watched ice. We won't be in pack much longer. I want to store up the bleakness and foreignness of it all, so I can remember what it's like.

Grease Ice on a windy sea. If you had been out in the Antarctic long enough, and hadn't had much sleep, you could imagine that this patch of grease ice looked like a person, with long legs extending towards you, and arms folded in front. You would have to have a real keen imagination though.

The view from my sheltered place on deck. The barrels are not depth charges. They're automatically inflating life rafts. There are two Zodiacs, two power launches (the 'Cajun Cruncher' and the rescue boat), two lifeboats, and I think six of these rafts aboard. Nobody is taking any chances!

It is morning, and there is a clear area in the distance.

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