A Sailor’s Life

This year’s trip is a bit different.  I am staying wholly on  a ship  with no pretext of going to a station.  We are largely Antarctic Island hopping and spending a lot of time in transit.  It is mostly quite pleasant-  well except for crossing the Drake  which was nauseating (despite the lack of big waves).  The Dr. said that the line to get seasickness meds filled the corridor and nearly went up the stairs.  I was less embarrassed about my sea  sickness knowing  that a number of hardened Royal Navy sailors were equally humbled.  Apparently the H.M.S Protector is well known in the Royal Navy as a rather sea-sicky  ship (a common problem for ice breakers)

The best feature of this vessel is that the bathroom floors are heated.   It makes drying out wet field gear so much easier.  I would show a picture, but the bathroom is the size of a closet.


The Bridge is a really good spot for doing some wildlife watching  and generally appreciating the scenery.  It is warm and cozy with pretty good views

I also saw Southern Bottlenose whales!   They are a type of beaked whale  (deep diving and often elusive).  I was so  busy trying to watch them with binoculars that I didn’t get a proper photo  grrrrr.

The Royal Navy is rather funny. They fully believe in taking all of the comforts of home with them when they go to war (or the Antarctic)- non of this Spartan nonsense that ground forces seem to follow..  We have proper mattresses in the bunk beds.   There are 3 fully stocked bars (one is pictured above, though the alcohol is put away)…and yes tea is served in actual china and the cream pitcher and sugar bowl are real silver.  So that is life aboard the ship.  I should note that the food is much better than anticipated and the chefs prepare special vegetarian options on request which is very kind of them.

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