Put footstep of courage into stirrup of patience – Sir Ernest Shackleton
Still at Arctowski Base, the team are playing the waiting game – a game at which Shackleton and his crew were surely world champions . We’re all patiently waiting for two sets of conditions to conspire in our favour: fair conditions to make the crossing to Elephant Island with the Alexandra Shackleton in tow, and good conditions to make the landing at Elephant Island (a notoriously challenging spot to land, known for its rocky, exposed shore and wild, unpredictable weather). With the next couple of days looking unfavourable due to strong winds and large swells, we’ve managed to find a window that looks optimal for a relatively good crossing and landing at Elephant Island, but it’s still a few days away (estimated date of departure from KGI is Wednesday 23 January early morning and arrival at Elephant Island the same day, weather dependent).
Just to prove that Antarctica is the true boss and can do whatever it feels like on any given day, the wind picked up significantly this morning, resulting in an unexpected development. With both the support boat the Australis and the Alexandra Shackleton unable to stay where they were anchored opposite Arctowski base, the Australis began the slow task of motoring away from Arctowski, towing the Alexandra Shackleton to safe harbour with us. Nick Bubb, Paul Larsen, Ed Wardle and Seb Coulthard were all aboard the Alexandra Shackleton when the decision to tow was made, so currently they are following behind us.
From the stern of the Australis I can see them rocking and rolling away, meeting each wave well, althoug the roll seems quite significant from my vantage point and being below deck would probably at times be tantamount to torture.
Considering the Alexandra Shackleton will have to sail in conditions much rougher than this, the crew will certainly have their work cut out for them, but today’s towing adventure is another test run.
- by Jo Stewart Shackleton Epic blogger aboard the Australis
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