A new week begins

Monday morning at half past three…

I’m getting dressed for the watch when I hear the engine being switched off. Gerhard, Alan and Piotr, our skipper, come down to the saloon. No watch?

Yes, but because we are sitting in the ice field and the path into the bay is also full of ice, continuing in the dark is not ideal.

So we’ll drift and wait until it’s light.

I’m supposed to wake Piotr after five o’clock and he’ll reassess the situation.

Now I’m sitting on deck and keeping watch alone. It’s bitterly cold. But it’s bearable with my three layers.

Opposite, a light near the shore, a cruiser at anchor? The Selma rocks gently back and forth, the moon and thousands of stars shine in the sky. The night is so peaceful and calm.

Small chunks of ice crackle past. Every now and then a wave claps softly against the side of the boat, otherwise silence reigns.

Writing in sub-zero temperatures without gloves is a bit cold. I warm my hands on the still-hot teacup. A penguin calls from the nearby island. Then silence again.

Then I hear a snort! A whale? No, it’s a seal, curiously lifting its head out of the water. We look into each other’s eyes. Then, with a quick glance back, it dives down again. A seagull flies over me, screaming. Then it’s quiet again.

Venus shines brightly in the eastern sky, the morning awakens – the first mountain peaks are illuminated by the sun, which is not yet visible.

I wake Piotr up. His sleeping place is in the pilothouse, so he has all the navigation systems in sight.

He looks at his iPad (the nautical chart) and takes a quick look out of the window. Everything’s ok, although the island has come pretty close for me…..

He allows himself another hour’s sleep, which means I have to wake him up again at six.

Shortly before six, I see a sailing boat coming towards us, the yacht slowly passes us. The four-man crew, all bundled up, greet me in a friendly manner. The chugging of the engine dissolves into the call of the penguins greeting the day.

I wake up Piotr and Unda, my partner on watch today.

Piotr fortifies himself with a coffee and off we go. Unda and I fight our way through the ice with Selma. Me at the wheel and Unda with the stick on the bow to push away the ice floes that we can’t avoid.

At 08.05 we arrived near the small island of Rasmussen Island – our shift is over.

A new day has dawned! It will delight us once again with many unforgettable and exciting moments. I am very grateful for that.


Yes, this day has started in a very special way for me – my cell phone has repositioned itself and since 08.15 this morning has the following new coordinates: 65°14’41” S 064°15’31 “W, depth 134 meters

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