We are slowly heading south through the Weddell Sea towards Snow Hill Island. The sun is shining and the sea is coagulating into pack ice around us. Icebergs glitter from here to the horizon and the volcanic cone of Cockburn Island is about a mile away to port.
The engine is off. Harko, the captain tells me there is ice in the water intake so it’s not working. We are drifting, engineless, in the Weddell Sea. And winter is coming. Just as well Europa is a sailboat, though there’s not a lot of wind right now.
Harko is chacteristically laid back. He says he doesn’t know the solution (which I don’t believe) as he has left the problem with the engineer, Devin. An hour of peaceful drifting ensues, at least for Harko and the voyage crew. Devin is busy. The purr of the engine starts and falters, starts again but not for long. At last, just now, it starts and seems to be working. We start south once more.
Passing Devin in the corrider I hear Harko’s voice on the radio. ‘Very good to hear the engines,’ he says
As I write this, the engine noise stopped again. We are back to drifting.
(For friends and family reading this: we will be fine, even if we turn round and start sailing back to warmer water. It’s just not what we want to do.).