It turned out that waiting at Deception Island was a good move. At 0400 Europa weighed anchor and we left to cross the Bransfield Strait. The crew had told us it could be rough, even calling it a mini-Drake, so everyone was a little bit apprehensive.
Instead Antarctica rewarded us with a beautiful sailing day. The breeze blew steadily from behind us, the sea was calm with just a gentle swell and the sun shone. Whales teased us, spouting just too far away to see, or surfacing close to the boat and disappearing before cameras could focus.
I climbed! Not quite to the top of the main mast but very nearly. I had to come down again to get to the 1500 meteorology lecture, but it was grand! More to come on that topic, and many thanks to the voyage crew mate who shepherded me up there,
We approached the western end of Antarctic Sound about 1830 to see towering tabular icebergs march across the entrance. Spectacular in the sunset, they reflected blue and pink and silver. The grey sea turned purest translucent aquamarine when the waves broke at their feet. Careful bow watches were needed for growlers, small icebergs low in the water which pose a real risk.
Late at night, after a lot of slow engine work through the ice, the anchor went down in Hope Bay. Today, to start with, we are visiting Station Esperanza, the Argentinian research base. It’s a lot colder here than the South Shetlands and soon will be colder still as we turn south after the Sound.