And so we make our entrance to the Drake again – in the evening sun under sail, the water calm and a dolphin our two showing up alongside – we almost reach the point where we untie our deck chairs and start announce things through a PA system – so present is the feeling of being on an evening cruise, a Drake cruise. We are about to finish a day - full sunshine day of climbing instructions and watch familiarisation. The sails are up, we are making a calming three and a half knots and all is fine. Well, soon after our evening meeting the wind drops, our speed as well, and we drift around a bit first waiting than taking away all sails we had just set and the engine is switched on for a bit – but still, there is a certain luxury in ´drifting around´ at the beginning of a stretch of water which is considered the wildest in the world. As the moon comes out and the sky clears and the sea watches start the calm feeling stays. Heading for Antarctica many things can be unknown our uncertain – that this feeling will change as we come further out on the Drake is not one of them.
For now we enjoy. Our change over days were stormy – no these are not the days on which we catch up on sleep our stroll around in Ushuaia – these are the days where we fix, finish, get new food and goods, clean, handover – they always go fast, incredibly fast. This time they were not only fast but a bit stormy too – as some of the cruise ships are about the size of the whole pier in Ushuaia – we had to leave and anchor a bit further out. A bit further out was also a bit more windy – so at a dept of ten meter we gave all we had: two anchors with 4 shackles each, to assure ourselves some calm nights. It worked but we still had to go back and forward to shore, to bring and pick up crew and it turned out we were the worst. Showing up in all but waterproof clothes with our cameras in thin cotton bags and definitely without proper boots we sat close together in the middle of the zodiac holding on to each other in a desperate attempt not to get wet – much more desperate than any of our voyage crew would ever dare to be, as we smile with every wave that splashes into a zodiac and tell them they are not made out of sugar.
Luckily our voyage crew always agrees, also this time – fresh from the plane from many other sides of the world, picked up at the pier of the local sailing club, they all passed the test of a salty zodiac ride in a good amount of wind. At the moment – just a day after arrival – the wheel and on lookout are manned and new hands are steering our ship towards Antarctica.