Goan to Antarctica....

Goan scientist Helga do Rosario Gomes is en route to the icy continent, and is keeping her blog of the journey...

Thursday, November 24, 2005

All around... debris of ice

We headed towards what would be the first big station where we planned to stop and sample for eight sleep deprived and muscle aching days. On the way, we had to break through very thick ice.

The Nathaniel Palmer does this job by raising itself and then crashing back on the ice to break it. It's probably more complicated than that but that is how they explained it to me and it makes sense!

The cracks that the ship makes into the almost smooth sheets of ice stretch for miles and look like earthquake fissures. The noise from the breaking ice is unbearable like buildings collapsing all over us. You feel like the ship is going to break into two and you will be in the part that doesn't have the survival gear.

Conversation in the dining hall is monosyllabic. Seems like everyone is on a bad date! All around us is debris of ice, monster chunks which our ship has overturned and which harbor on their underside green, red and purple algae.

At other times we pass through rough and jagged pieces of ice strewn all over - I feel we are not on this planet. The horizon is almost invisible and the 24 hour blinding light scatters off the white ice and makes it look like we are under giant floodlights.

[Photo at the top shows chunks of ice with green algae on underside.]


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