Embarkation Day

As I write we are in the Beagle channel onboard the Ioffe, a few of hours south of Ushuaia. This is ‘embarkation day.’ Only a few hours ago this adventure still felt like a dream. Now it is sinking in. Things kicked off this morning with the arrival of Robert Swan and the 2041 crew, straight off the ship from a previous trip. He kicked things into action with an inspiring introduction followed by a talk from the ship’s safety officer, a fellow named Jumper. Reality was brought a little closer with talk of ‘Bronco-5’ and ‘Me First’ rules and the peril of encounters with leopard seals. We spent the rest of the morning session dividing into groups on the dynamics behind the challenge of climate change according to broad themes that have arisen in discussions thus far. I will be spending much of my time during the crossing with a team discussing the theme of leadership. 

This afternoon I headed into town to buy some sea sickness tablets and have lunch. Mid-afternoon we boarded the ship and spent a while orientating ourselves with the layout. Buffet snacks and champagne were awaiting us in the dining room. Late afternoon we congregated on the deck outside watching groups of seals playing in the waves from the ship, abruptly followed by an emergency drill. I have just finished dinner and am now sitting in my cabin. As we move further out into the channel the ship is swaying from side to side by increasing magnitude. 

A depression is forming over the passage, which we enter around midnight tonight. Robert Swan commented in passing that the next 36 hours could be choppy. I am ready for it. I don’t want to cross the roughest see in the world and not have a few stories to tell. That may mean that this is coming at you with a slight delay, as I am advised the ship could be too shaky for the satellite connection.

I’m about to “drake proof” the cabin on advice from the crew, before a few light drinks in the lounge bar. I can’t think of anything philosophical to reflect upon this moment, other that what a fantastic and unique experience this really is. I plan to fullye xploit that. Good night!


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