From the National Geographic Endeavour in Antarctica
Nov 29, 2007 - National Geographic Endeavour
At sea in the Drake Passage
I must go down to the seas again, where the billows romp and reel,
So all I ask is a large ship that rides on an even keel,
And a mild breeze and a broad deck with a slight list to leeward,
And a clean chair in a snug nook and a nice, kind steward.
I must go down to the seas again, the sport of wind and tide,
As the grey wave and the green wave play leapfrog over the side.
And all I ask is a glassy calm with a bone-dry scupper,
A good book and a warm rug and a light, plain supper.
I must go down to the seas again, though there I’m a total loss,
And can’t say which is worst: the pitch, the plunge, the roll, the toss.
But all I ask is a safe retreat in a bar well tended,
And a soft berth and a smooth course till the long trip’s ended.
So wrote Arthur Guiterman in his parody of the poem Sea Fever by John Masefield (see the National Geographic Endeavour's Daily Expedition Report from November 14, 2007). Captain Oliver Kruess of the National Geographic Endeavour was also prescient when he claimed earlier this week "vee must pay, vun vay or da udder, for such good veather vhile vee are here in Antarctica, or somsing like dis" in his stoic Germanic sense of humor.
On this, the second trip of the Antarctic season, the weather has been absolutely fabulous for the entire trip. Beautiful sunny days filled with birds, seals, whales, and Orcas and more life than could possibly be hoped for. Toss in a single snowstorm that abated soon after it started, only leaving chinstrap penguins covered with their little heads poking out of the snow. Quiet times spent kayaking in glass-flat waters among porpoising gentoo penguins and magnificent ice sculptures that absolutely defied description. Oh, it has been such a lovely trip. And the cost we must pay for all these amazing adventures?
One pitching, rolling, and tossing trip north in our snug little ship across the Drake Passage. A price I am sure each of us gladly paid to visit this amazing place called Antarctica. For myself I would gladly pay it again (and will, on the next trip south in two days!)