Chiriguano Bay, Brabant Island, Antarctica, Nov. 14, 2011
I am in Dan’s group again, and we get out fairly early, shortly after 9AM. This was our sunniest day in Antarctica. Zodiac landing and first groups skinning up.
Here I am at the landing. Dan is behind me getting the ropes ready. We will use them on this ascent as were an early group and this terrain has not been skied before.
On the ascent. Our objective is the broad bowl just right of the rocks ahead.
Switchbacks higher on the ascent
As we near the top, one of the first guides coming down. Note his nice powder spray but more wind affected snow closer to us.
Meanwhile Liz has been slotted with a couple of other less experienced women and guide Todd from Tahoe. Todd wants to make a recon run to check the snow out and take the women out after lunch. Liz appealed to Kevin Quinn (owner of Points North Heliski in Cordova, Alaska) and she is allowed to go on the recon with Todd. I am pleased to see her and Todd arrive at the 1,500 foot summit shortly after our group.
Liz and Todd head down first. Liz about to drop in.
Liz, Todd and tracks in the bowl.
The snow is not the lightest powder as the first groups at skier’s right but still quite good. When the pitch flattens out it’s a bit grabbier and I have my only Antarctic crash. Liz and Todd head back to the ship while our group puts the skins back on and ascend the next bowl looker’s right. Here Dan finds a way for us to put some tracks down the fluffiest snow at skier’s right. Brian rips some Antarctic powder here.
Looking back up at first bowl skied.
And the second one
Meanwhile across the bay on Victoria Peak Andrew McLean is leading some of the most advanced groups.
Zoomed view of ascending skiers.
We head down to the bay
It is around 2PM and we have skied 2,600 vertical. I was slower on the second ascent but fortunately had enough energy to enjoy the excellent powder of the second run. Nonetheless I decline the option to go out for more skiing after lunch. It was a good call as Dan took Brian and Greg out to Victoria’s lower slopes which were then shaded after a morning of sun and crusted over.
Meanwhile Liz has had an early lunch and Kevin Quinn decided to take her group out for an afternoon powder lesson. Results here:
Kevin and Liz:
This was the best day of the trip in terms of ski quality and weather for pictures.
jasoncapecod wrote: Just curious, was sea sickness a problem with your shipmates?
Patrick wrote: Bring out the barf bags. Andrew McLean's video: [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BmiSZ-09bA[/youtube]
That last day Nov. 19 was a real rock and roller with hurricane force winds. Quark personnel who are there the whole Antarctic cruising season said it was one of the worst days they have ever seen in the Drake Passage. People usually lie low in their cabins when it's like that. Like Liz here.
But of course we're skiers (i.e. adrenaline junkies) and want to see what's happening. As seen in the video some people went out on deck. Quark had to round them up and insist that no one go outside. After breakfast lots of us went up to view the scene and take pictures from the bridge. Most of that video was taken there.
There was a massive rogue wave about 11AM. Most of those people in the bridge were thrown to the floor, even those sitting down. Liz and I were in the 4th floor library trying to use the computer. The large table we were sitting at swung out into the middle of the room. Liz' chair hit a fixed table there and fell to the floor. I was not so lucky. My chair with me in it was thrown over half the width of the ship and I hit the back of another chair on my right side with hard force. Here's the souvenir battle scar today, 13 days later.
Pain in my right ribs was quite intense, but due to my 2008 experience I sucked in a deep breath and was reassured when the pain did not increase. I did spend the rest of the day on my bed in my cabin instead of preparing these TR's as I had intended. The dining room was closed for lunch as one of the waiters was in the kitchen during the wave hit and suffered a broken arm and head gash. We were in the Beagle Channel by 6PM so dinner was served normally. I was taking ibuprofen liberally for a few days but the injury did not interfere with our Patagonia hikes over the next 10 days.
With regard to seasickness I have never had it on a ship and Liz only once on a liveaboard dive boat in the Coral Sea. But given the reputation of the Drake Passage we used the prescription patches and were glad we did. Most people took precautions and while we heard some people were sick those people tended to stay in their rooms. The dining room was full at meals during both crossings so I guess only a small minority really suffered much.