Antarctica Marathon 2014: First Full Day at Sea

Antarctica Marathon 2014: First Full Day at Sea

This is a summary of my first full day on the Valvilov crossing Drake’s Passage.

This was the full day at sea aboard the ship. There are not a lot of “activities” to do on the ship but it was a very busy day. We rented our gear and talks were given about how to get onto Antarctica via boats and also how to make sure we preserve the environment down there.

In the Drake passage, boat was consistently rocking and about 10 people got sick enough to see the ship doctor. Many took seasick medication and felt fine. Those that were in denial and didn’t take it went to see the ship doctor. It was relatively calm in Drake passage so my “less drowsy” Dramamine worked very well.

My day started off with waking up to the morning announcement so I shuffled up to the bar to get something hot to drink. There were a few people up there as well. This guy is ready for Antarctica for sure.


After breakfast, there was a group meeting about the gear available to rent. You can rent a waterproof jacket, pants, dry bag and binoculars. Knee high waterproof boots were complimentary. Everything was offered for $50 total or $15 individually. I rented everything for $50 even though I didn’t really use the binoculars. The waterproof bag was very useful for our first Zodiac ride. The staff went over what the gear looked like and also how to wear the inflatable life vest.

As you can see from the second picture, the boat is really rocking in the Drake Passage. Note that the horizon in the distance is level but the ship is listed about 15 degrees. It would swing from side to side like that the entire time we are crossing the Drake. We were told that this was the calmest crossing of the Drake in about a decade. I can’t imagine it getting worst than this.

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Sometime afterwards, they called us by deck and side of the ship to come down to pick out what size jackets, pants, and boots. The boots will have our room tags on them and left in the Mud Room, where we would generally bring our jackets to our rooms. Most of the time, they were hung on the railing on each side of the hallway to dry. Most of the time they dried overnight.

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After lunch, there were a few presentations. One was down in the presentation room and the next one was up in the bar/lounge.The presentation in the presentation room was about the zodiacs and how to get on/off of them.

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The presentation given up at the bar was about IAATO and what we can do to preserve the environment in Antarctica that includes not littering anywhere, cleaning our garments and boots before/after we go to Antarctica and to keep away from wildlife as to not disturb them. Seals can be dangerous so we were told to keep some extra distance from them.

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Some of us left the bar to take a look at the bridge. This was the first time the bridge was open.

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I relaxed up in the lounge until dinner. I took another Meclizine after dinner.

There was another talk given up at the lounge and we decided to skip it and watch “Wolf of Wall Street” (started by another passenger) in the presentation room. We used my laptop to connect to the projector that was already down there. I didn’t know it was 3 hours long so we stayed up until about 1am to finish the movie. Man that was a long movie.


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