Friday, 5 February 2010

Hooray And Up She Rises!

Whoa! And the seas and the winds continued to rise through the night. Ten to twelve metre waves! Forty to Forty five knot winds. Man the helm matey! On the bridge there was a herculean struggle as a team of sailors manned the helm. It was man against King Neptune himself as the valiant sailors fought to keep Fram on course.
Ahem. Cough. Well. Not exactly. The helm on Fram is the three inch (8cm) black joystick on the upper right of the photograph. It takes only one or two fingers to steer this 11,647 ton vessel. You can literaly steer the ship with your pinky.
Yes, we certainly did have twelve metre waves and forty+ knot winds but our course is plotted into a computer. It is definitely not as simple as just turning on a computer and pushing a go button. Far from it, but a few taps on that little joystick is enough to alter course around most obstacles. The navigation officers and sailors are ever vigilant watching for ice and other hazards. In addition, we have state of the art radar. An excellent GPS system and redundant navigation systems. We have excellent stabilizers that smooth out the bumpy ride.
Still not everyone was comfortable. Lectures and IAATO briefings were postponed until later in the day.
Around 15:00 there was a big change in the weather. The seas began to lie down. By 18:00 it was pretty smooth sailing once again. The sun burst through the clouds lighting up our first icebergs in brilliant sunshine. Our day ended with an extraordinary sunset bathing Smith Island in a beautiful pink glow.