Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

Gerlache Straits, Antarctica

Posted at 7:45 pm, January 19th, 2004

The nice weather we had after leaving Palmer has disappeared, and it’s near whiteout conditions outside with really cold winds. After leaving Palmer the bulk of the day was spent steaming up to Paradise Bay, although there was a long detour to watch an orca chasing a group of minke whales. The orca apparently wasn’t hunting, but was instead just stalking and harassing the minkes. During the hour we were watching them the whales twice came right under our bow, and the clarity of the water provided some awesome viewing. Paradise Bay was also a great spot, although after the obligatory group photo most of us were spending the time grabbing photos of fellow passengers. Tomorrow is the last day on the peninsula — the weather gods really need to send us one last good day so that we can make the Bailey Head landing and see the chinstrap highway.

Despite the fact that I’m by far the youngest one out here, there’s been a core group of people who I’ve had a blast hanging out with. Rod, Carter, Tim, and Hugh have been non-stop entertainment, whether they’re doing elephant seal impersonations, playing butt darts, or giving each other unending grief. Dave & Ann can be counted on to always be the other folks that hike to the remote parts of the landing sites, and they’re also the ones who brought this new party game to us. Kaiyote has been a mystery throughout the trip, but she’s also the first to climb a mountain and is one of the sweetest people out here, even when clamoring to get Arnie to drive through an iceberg. Ted has been doing this sort of thing his entire life and has seen more remote places than anyone I’ve ever met. The Alaskan contingent, especially Jim and Ken, are always good for a conversation, and Jim has managed some real zingers (“What’s the name of them crazy shit-eatin’ birds?”). Margi & Chris are fellow Case Western grads, and Chris is even a fellow Shaker High alum. The list goes on and on… Neil, Jim, Marlene, Mary & Ken, Arnie, Doug & Gail… it’s been a great trip with a great group of people.

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