19 December 2007
Onboard Tara, we are in transit between the ice and the sea. After the ice break last Thursday, we have recovered part of our freedom, released from the pack ice, moving about the open water by turning in circles, moving with the wind and the currents in the midst of the ice pieces. But we are acting like these surrounding pieces of ice around us, we are not operating the boat. We are fully drifting! Since then, the ice has shut around the boat’s hull again and we are once again following the pack ice like the other pieces of ice.
We are getting used to the small jolts and ice creaking against Tara’s hull. We are spending time noticing the light movements of the swell that can make all this mass oscillate. It is like magic, the open water is so close (50 miles) and at the same time so inaccessible.
Yesterday, in anticipation of the exit, Hervé, the captain gave us a talk on the operation of the boat in navigation and safety rules to respect. There is excitement in the air.
Our walks on the pack ice are now very much restricted. We go there when the sea is calm to collect some ice and snow to continue to supply the boat with drinkable water but also to stretch the dogs legs.
And even for the toilets we remain onboard. After having lost our Norwegian toilets on Thursday (a little wooden outer house, built by Audun), we have lost our ice castle last Saturday, built with ice bricks on a ice floe next to the boat (the floe has detached itself from the boat), leaving us in the middle of the water and unstable ice pieces, without being able to use the onboard toilets because of the frost. We have thus set up toilets on the back deck of the boat. It is a detail that we never mention, but in an expedition but it is a key element that one must not forget…
Wind from the North should blow today, we shall keep you informed.