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Postcards from the edge

Our trainees have become creative and have written some fictional postcards in their own language. Some funny, some touching and some bizarre

Our trainees have become creative and have written some fictional postcards in their own language. Some funny, some touching and some bizarre.

**

Dear Delphine,

The Europa journey has been as incredible as I had hoped for. The first 4 days of “watch” duty we had to do as we came through the Drake passage was demanding, but now I take back all the complaining I did, and am yearning for the camaraderie of being a part of the actual movement. They had all of us “voyage crew” working shifts at the helm during this time. I asked our Captain to be honest and say whether we would already be “there” if he didn’t have us all struggling to stay on course during our watch. In his wonderfully succinct manner, he replied, “We would definitely be closer. But it’s not so much that we are zigzagging off our course, but that we are missing out on the wind.”

The hard work has been replaced with various landings throughout our days. Today we went for a long walk on a volcanic island called Deception Island. We saw a huge chinstrap penguin colony, which you would have loved. They remind me of you, so full of personality. We ended our day by digging holes in the steaming black beach, making ourselves these outdoor baths. Apparently our laughter carried all the way back to the ship…I want this to go on forever.

Love from Antartica,

Apolla

 

**

Dear Granny

So here we are at Deception Island-it’s the first day that I’ve had the time and strength to put pen to paper. It’s been days of relentless physical labour on board, coupled with extreme mental exhaustion caused by sleep depravation from being forced to stay awake at night in the driving wind and snow to look out for obstacles at sea. Luckily they also have a radar on board so that if we fall asleep or lose focus from the onset of hyperthermia the crew drinking tea in the warm bridge can still steer us away from danger.

Anyway, back to the island (I’ll tell you more about the rest if I make it home).

The best part was swimming! You’d never have guessed that we could swim in Antarctic waters would you? Here’s why-there’s an old whaling station where we swam. They used to have boilers there to process the whale meat and blubber. Somehow the fires seem to have still kept some of the water just under the surface warm so we dug small holes in the sand and had a really warm bath! It’s amazing what a lasting effect humans can have on such a remote place!

Must go now-lots of love 

Mike

 

**

Dear Sarah

I wish you were here! You would love Deception island. It reminds me of you. Cold, dark and icy. Yet underneath, if you dig deep enough into the darkness, you’ll find an intense, scary heat.

I love you.

Paula

  

**

Dear Mum,

Greetings from the Antarctic summer! Just had my weekly bath in the warm ocean shallows after a couple of nights at sea. Whilst at sea, the food is plentiful and of excellent quality. It’s quite an adventure bobbing about like a cork in champagne, seemingly miles from anywhere or anyone. These strange creatures visited my beach today. They went to the colony by walking 3 hours across the glacier, up and down the mountains and around the headlands. I don’t know why they didn’t just surf up the beach like the rest of us. The walk up the black volcanic mountainside is pretty tough but the view from my lounge room is worth it! I have plenty of friends here, 60,000 to be precise. Looking forward to your visit.

Lots of love,

Cheryl the Chinstrap Penguin

 

**

To everyone,

Fun forager recipes from Deception Island.

This week; Fresh krill and seaweed wraps.

For each portion, collect six to eight live krill stranded on the beach on the outgoing tide. Select a ribbon of fine seaweed by the shore. Be sure to rinse away the tiny lava stones easily mistaken for krill eyes. Simply wrap the krill in your seaweed and serve with ten thousand yar old ice with a splash of whisky.

…Next week; swim and steam your starfish in the same hand dug volcanic pool!

Russell

 

**

Dear Uncle in Japan,

as I am sailing to Antarctica in a pirate ship ruled under the flag of King Wilhelm Alexander, in which the system does not allow non-roman languages, I am writing to you in English even though I know you will have a tough time understanding it. Today we had a quick stop at Deception Island, where the promised Onsen in Antarctica were to be found. However, the picture on the brochure of people laying comfortably in warm water with Snow Mountains and the Ship in the background, which had a persuasive impact on my decision to go onboard, turned out to be fake, as we had to dig holes on the beach in order to access some of the warm water supply. Having to turn around every 10 sec in order to keep both stomach and back warm was an interesting experience, very different to the hot springs in japan though. Right now we are back on the sea and another promise of the brochure is being broken - no seasickness in
Antarctica…

Hope you are all well.

Love from the 7th continent,

Yours Yukio

 

**

Lieve Anna,

Ten minste 50 tinten blauw… in slechts 1 zodiac-ride!

Liefs, Callista

  

**

Lieve Eiso Willemijn en Carlijn,

4e officiele dag op Antarctica. Jammer dat jullie niet mee kunnen genieten. Net zodiactour achter de rug tussen sprankelende ijsbergen en prachtig blauw water. wat een natuur, wat een geweld en ook een rust. een beestenboel hier, tot nu toe zagen we n zeeolifant, pelsrobben, reuze albatros,stormband-, macaroni-, en de ezelspinguins, bultruggen, orka,s, dolfijnen en vast nog meer. het is zomers weer op de zuidpool en het blijft een sprookje hier gewoon wakker te worden en dag na dag op avontuur te kunnen. De Europa is en blijft als thuiskomen voor mij. We worden in de watten gelegd en hebben het goed samen. liefs

Kiek 

**

Liewe Maatjies in Afrika (en die res van die familie elders)

Ons het gister die Kolmanskop van Antarktika besoek - Desolation Island. Mens kry eintlik hoendervleis om te dink in hierdie verlate krater het mense geleef en gewerk (en ja, gesterf ook). Die hardeskywe word fluks volgeskryf, en elke dag is net meer ongelooflik as die volgende. Vanmiddag het ons met die rubberduck tussen ysberge deurgejaag en tussen ons twee ongeveer 1 000 foto’s geneem in minder as 2 ure se tyd.

Wens julle kon almal saam met ons die reis geniet!

 Liefde en groete

Madeleine en Dawie

  

**

Aan mijn zo geliefde collega’s van het UWV in Rotterdam.

Ik mis jullie. Haha.

Met een biertje (Quilmes uit Argentinie) in mijn hand aan de bar en een gigantische ijsberg drijvend ter rechterzijde wordt mij verzocht om in mijn eigen taal iets te schrijven aan iemand in Nederland. Nou kan ik iets aan jullie schrijven over de natuur of het wildlife of de medepassagiers maar nee ik vertel een leuke anecdote van gisteravond aan jullie.

We gingen badderen in een heetwaterbron op Deception Island in een zelfgemaakte kuil op het zwarte lavastrand, die zich dan vulde met warm (of zelfs heet) water vanuit de grond (vanwege de vulkanische activiteit). De buitentemperatuur zal een graad of 3 geweest zijn en het grondwater tussen de 40 en 60 graden. Zo gezegd zo gedaan. Dit werd afgerond met een duik in het echte ijswater van 1 graad boven nul.
STOER!!! Met het snelle omkleden hierna was er haast geboden dus geen gedoe met een handdoek om je middel (zoals de rest omzichtig deed) maar hoppetaa in de blote kont. De Amerikanen, Canadezen, Australian, South African people, en de rest waren dit niet echt gewend en dit bleef tot op dit moment hun gesprek van de dag.

Groeten uit White Wonderland van Erwin van Rooy.

 

**

Aan al mijn geliefde familieleden,

Gisteren heb een weer een aantal bergen overwonnen zoals we / ik afgelopen jaren al wat vaker gedaan hebben. Doet het mij goed als je een behoorlijk klimmetje boven op de top van een vulkaan staan, het voelde als een nieuwe overwinning. De gedachten gingen dan ook naar wat we medisch gezien toch allemaal meegemaakt hebben en overwonnen hebben, het
geeft mij een overweldigend gevoel.

Het uitzicht wat we hebben is mistig maar toch helder je moet door een aantal dingen heen kunnen kijken.

Na terugkomst van de wandeling nemen we de boot naar het schip na weer een simpel maar lekker gerecht gaan we zwemmen we gaan met toch een behoorlijke groep naar een baai, helaas geen whirlpool of verwant zwembad maar een baai. Iedereen kijkt elkaar aan en na een kleine maar duidelijke opdracht gaan we met zijn alle diverse gaten langs de waterkant graven, waar het water door de kiezels naar boven komt en het is warm water, zelfs zo warm als je te diep graaft kan je er niet in liggen.

Ik ben de eerste die natuurlijk direct aan het graven gaat en heb mijn gat behoorlijk snel klaar, ik ga niet zoals iedereen meteen in het gemaakt gat liggen, maar loop naar het water toe en ren totdat ik ik een duik kan maken en volledig onder water kan maak een paar slagen maar wat is het water KOUD, maar snel in mijn zelf gemaakt badje gaan liggen en mezelf opwarmen. Er volgen veel mensen mijn actie en binnen de kortste keren gaan diverse mensen mij achterna en spingen ook in het koude water.

Na warm te zijn denk ik ik ga nog een keer, het gevoel is nog heftiger als de eerste keer.

Na wat tijd in de warme poel te hebben gelegen kijk ik naar de hemel boven mij, en denk aan mijn familie thuis. 

Bij deze allemaal, ik hou ziels veel van jullie, 

Tot snel

 

Marcel Schoenmakers

 

**

To friend,

All of my senses are alive here in Antartica. Sailing, I see, I watch, it’s beautiful! My favorite so far are the animals that we have seen…penguins especially. So cute and so curious about us humans. If i am alone, it would still be ok. But the people on the Europa make the experience even more powerful. They are my 6th sense.

 sanatate si mult noroc!

Ene Tudor Cristian

  

**

Hi guys,

Goeie soep en ‘so romantic’!!

 

@C

  

**

Dear Kathy,

Found a lovely winter home on a romantic place named Deception Island. It’s a bit of a fixer upper, sort of chilly and the drive- (sail-)way is a bit trecherous, but still the view is lovely and the smell of whale carcasses is almost gone. It’s not to far from the Plateau of Leng and I might have glimpsed Kadath in the perpetually cloud shrouded peaks of this bitter and forsaken place.

Still sane (as far as I can tell) and yours,

Josh

  

**

To whomever reads this message,

Yesterday we visited a remote island just off the Antarctic Peninsula named Deception Island. Earlier in our journey we visited another small island called Desolation Island. In my opinion, I believe Deception Island really should have been called Desolation Island. It feels so much more desolate. On Deception Island we visited the remains of an old Norwegian Whaling Station from the early 20th century. On the beach are remnants of human activity from the past. Old whale boans, wrecked boats, blubber bins, machinery, and skeletons of shacks where these men once lived their lives. It was an eerie experience to walk the grounds of the ghost town so far away from the rest of civilization. The clouds and fog hung low, and steam rose off the seawater in Whaler’s Bay. As we walked around and looked at the remnants, one can't help but be amazed that in between the years this place was built and active, up until now, that these footprints of human industry have stood the test of the time. As the world turns, and years go by, the ghosts of Whaler’s Bay will remain.

Peter

  

**

This is not only a trip in the Antarctica, it’s also a trip in our soul. We translated this phrase into several languages as we are really a multinational group. It was so nice to hear how differently we can express the same concept and, at the same time, how close, similar and I would like to add equal we are. We are seeing views that cannot be described: you have to be here. It comes to my mind what the Mutant says at the end of Blade Runner movie: I’ve seen things…It’s true that we can discover the whole Universe in a drop of water, but here you feel closer to its Magnificence.

See you soon my dear

Alessandro 

**

This landlubber is slowly getting ‘sea legs’ , haha. So much enjoying the views , different weather conditions , the watches and believe it , this little creatures called penguins. Visiting them on land, where currently the youngsters are almost ready to make their own journey, is exciting, but foremost I like to watch them swimming, so lovely. Well must also admit the plan of getting rid of some weight I might have to postpone as the F & B is well above expectations…….

Two more weeks I can handle, haha.

Love Rene

 

**

Dear Family, Friends & Colleagues,

 

A message from the deep south.

 

My impressions from the trip so far.

Colors…beautiful, cabin…dark.

Animals… beautiful, Smell…bad.

Food…great, seasickness..not so great.

Weather…great, temperature..low.

Company…great, ship(’ s crew) also great.

 

Overall, Antarctica…FANTASTIC!.

 

LM

 

**

Heute war der Tag der Eisberge. Erst haben wir diese mir den Zodiacs und danach mit der Bark Europa erkundet. Während des Sonnenuntergangs sind diese besonders schön anzusehen. Zusätzlich haben wir Wale und Seeleoparden gesehen. Es war wirklich es ein sehr schöner Tag.

Michael Helmich 

**

My dear hamster Bianca:

a lot of ices everywhere, white landscapes, blue ones, strange and cute animals like you…

Sometimes i feel not well, pain in my soul since you are not with me anymore…

Despite of my bad mood, my ribs ache and my frequent loss in card games, I try to be strong and go on… I am giving you the last greeting from my heart, in Antarctica. Miss you, kiss.

Andrea DB 

 

**

Grandad,

 

You would love it here. Snow, ice, mountains and a cold blue sea. A dream. I can’t help but spend as much time as possible enjoying this frozen vista, whether it being on the first and last boat out to land, or spending hours sat aloft on the yards. It is easy to get lost in yourself.

This evening… wow. I stood in near darkness for nearly an hour, with nothing but the soft outline of distant glaciers and the occasional shimmer of a passing iceberg for light, listening to a pod of humpbacks coming up for air next to the ship. Partly this was for the chance of one coming close enough so that the faint silhouette of a tail fin could be seen as it prepared to dive, and partly for the serene experience of just hearing them come up for air in the darkness. I couldn’t move. It’s just a fraction of what Antartica has to offer and what we have been rewarded with.

It is something even you couldn't forget.

Ben 

**

Ahoj mami a tati,

 

Antarktida je pekna, pocasi nam preje, ani vlny moc nejsou, kluci na pokoji taky nezlobi. Dnes jsme jeli na clunech mezi ledovci a videli tulene a tucnaky. Vecer jsme mijeli ledovce a taky velryby Skoda ze byla zrovna tma a byly spis slyset nez videt. Zitra konecne dojedeme az na pevninu, uz se moc tesim. Jo a kuchar je taky moc sikovny.

Pozdravy z vyletu na Bark Europa posila Klusi ;-)))

 

**

Based on 3 square feet per family unit, I estimate about 2300 Chinstrap pairs should just about do it. Have contacted Clovis Stone for pebble delivery on the 28th.

Marge

 

**

It's often said that Antarctica can't be described adequately in words. Even pictures don't completely do it justice. So I'll leave it to others to describe the otherworldly landscapes, the exhilaration of helming a square-rigger in the Drake Passage at night, or the novelty of a Gin & Tonic served with pre-historic glacier ice plucked from the ocean.
Frankly I began to run out of superlatives the moment the sails filled for the first time in Argentina a week ago.

Instead I'd like to extend some recognition to the special people we all have back home. The spouses, co-workers, and friends that have made sacrifices to keep things running ship-shape at home and at work while we spend 3 weeks on this adventure of a lifetime. Thanks Colleen- Love You!

-Paul G

Written by:
Sailing crew | Trainees

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