Antarctic Life

A frozen outlook on life on the ice

Madeira and onwards

Atlantic Ocean, Off the coast of Palma, Canary Islands 29.7011°N, 18.6195°W

Temperature: +22°C

So I've finally managed to see something worth taking a picture of during my journey south. Our first waypoint as I've mentioned is Madeira, where we had to stop to refuel in Funchal. The first sign I saw that we were finally nearing land was a solitary bird flying just outside my window - a very welcome sight having seen nothing but the vast expanse of ocean for a solid week.

I must admit having avoided being seasick for a few days, I finally started feeling a little rough once we hit the Bay of Biscay but soon found my sealegs only for us to hit dry land again!

ApproachApproaching Madeira in calm, sunny conditions

Life on a ship took a little bit of getting used to, particularly at night. I initially struggled to sleep with all the noises and rocking motion of the ship. It was made worse by the location of my rather large (managed to luck out with that one) cabin. I am situated at the very front of the ship, relatively high off the water line so I experience much more movement than one would at the waterline midships. Added to this I have the anti-roll tank, essentially a giant tank filled with gallons of water with separated by baffles, directly above my head which I can hear sloshing about every night when its full. Having said that, for the first night there was an issue with the filling of the tank so it didn't perform as it should, meaning the roll was more severe than it should have been.

Everything seems to creak and nothing stays where you left it! It is a rather odd sensation having to barricade yourself into your bed so you move less. The worst feeling however is definitely the feeling of gravity coming and going in your bed as you feel the mattress compress and decompress with every movement of the ship. I feel I'm pretty used to it now, and moving around, showering etc. isn't too much of an issue.

Our approach to Madeira was an interesting one - the local weather seems to vary considerably. Initially it was a very pleasant 21°C, with a sea temperature of an even warmer 22°C with brilliant sunshine. However, this quickly turned into a cloudy affair with choppier seas, bringing rain with it, shrouding the island in cloud. Even when this cleared, the peaks of the mountainous island were still hidden beneath cloud. According to the harbour pilot - the next day was meant to be bringing snow to the peaks and temperatures of just 13°C, not what I expected just of the coast of Africa! Fortunately however, this turned out not to be the case and it ended up being a very pleasant day on shore leave including a trip up the cable car and down on toboggans - sadly without pictures however!

Leaving Funchal Port

For now, we are back on the ship and heading off to Saint Helena which we will reach in about 2 weeks time, but hopefully there will some more sealife to look at from now until then, as well as the traditional line crossing ceremony when we reach the equator.