“This is no holiday, this is an expedition!”

Often with a wink, sometimes as a joke and occasionally simply surrendering to life on deck with everything that goes with it, this sentence is said several times a day.

And that’s why I’m sitting here now, early in the morning at 4:00 a.m., tired and shivering as an anchor watch.

If it were a vacation, I would have had a hot shower and then 9-10 hours of sleep after 4 hours of watch on deck last night at the latest, after steering and pushing ice away with the long iron bar. But it’s an expedition…

Yesterday it took us deeper into the Weddell Sea than we would ever have imagined, as it is often not even possible, because even in summer there is usually thick ice and no way through for a small sailing boat. But this year there are conditions that make it possible and our skipper team is curious and willing to take risks and we crew follow them full of trust and a desire to explore.

When we sometimes find our way through thick floes and large icebergs at a speed of just one knot, we don’t know whether we will continue or end up in a dead end. The white mass also moves in the wind and current, pushing paths open and closed. But optimism and the skipper’s wealth of experience (he even holds an Antarctic Guinness record with the Selma) have now taken us as far as 64 degrees south to Snow Hill Island, south of James Ross Island, which we want to try to circumnavigate.

And now I’m sitting here keeping anchor watch, which isn’t really an anchor watch at all, because the anchor is on deck and instead we’re attached with a rope to an iceberg that’s stuck to the bottom off the coast. Every now and then we need a push with the pole if the boat drifts too close to the ice to push it away again

There is almost no wind, the sea is as smooth as glass, as it was all day yesterday. It’s slowly getting light, the sky is turning pink. It is still quiet on board, but soon the hustle and bustle will start again, we will be scurrying around each other in the confined space and at the same time enjoying the incredible vastness of this Antarctic world.

I am really looking forward to this day and am excited to see what it has in store for us today. It will be great again, unexpected and breathtakingly beautiful, I’m sure of it

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