Monday, May 13 2013
Finally, we cast off. Escorted by a pilot vessel, we left shore at 4pm in the afternoon. Our departure was delayed by 6 hours because high winds had shut down harbor operations. During the day, everyone continued the now customary cycle of setting up gear, and running to town for last minute purchases (some of us now know how to say ‘PVC cement’ in Spanish and where to buy it!). We were given a drop dead time of 2pm to be on board, and luckily, everyone was punctual. The crew introduced us to the procedures on board. Of course ‘safety’ is the number one concern and we were introduced to the life-boat, including how to launch it, if all crew are incapacitated. Naturally, we all hope not to experience this for real. A few more introductions of household procedures (what to do with your trash, what happens if your showers plug up) and we were released to witness the departure. The gangway was pulled up, and then we were off. It had snowed off and on during the day, and the hills around town were dusted in white. The sun was beginning to set behind a large cloud bank, as we passed a few ships at anchor. We expect to have a calm passage until sometime tomorrow, when we will hit the Drake passage.
Francoise wiggles into her safety suit, which will insulate her from Antarctic temperatures in case of an emergency. These suits are called “gumby suits” by oceanographers everywhere!