Gib Finney’s sequel to THE POWER OF UN
Wishing for Sea Legs
3 June 2008, Finney @ 5:06 pm

[Written on the afternoon of 6/3/08]

I hate to admit it, but I have been kind of seasick the last couple of days. As soon as we left the Punta Arenas harbor, the water started getting rough. I can deal with carnival rides, and I don’t get carsick or airsick easily, but carnival rides are short, cars don’t roll from side to side and pitch forward and backward as they go down the road. I feel like a landlubber, which I guess I am. Luckily, Ash is seasick, too, so that makes me feel better, even though it’s sort of mean.

Rainy, on the other hand, is just fine. Yesterday afternoon, she went down on 0 deck (which I guess you would say is the ship’s ground floor, except it’s not ground, it’s water) and watched (and even got to hold the hoses for a little while) while Tim Shaw and Ben Twining and their helpers launched a “fish.” A fish is like a vacuum with fins on it, which they lower into the water to get samples. Tim and Ben want to know if ash and soot from the Chaiten volcano are in the water here, and if so, what they’re adding to it.

I have been spending a lot of time in my cabin, which is in the top photo. It is pretty squinchy, but it’s where my bed is, and I’ve been needing to lie down a lot because of the seasickness. Major hassle. Everyone has been very nice about it, bringing me crackers and ginger ale and sometimes cookies. Most of the oceanographers have been to sea so many times that they have “sea legs” which means they don’t get seasick unless the waves are really really huge. They all say Ash and I will get sea legs soon, too. Maybe even tomorrow.

Here is a picture of the stuffed penguin I told you about in the last post. We have decided to call him Strike, because he looks kind of like a bowling pin. We still have no clue where he came from. When we ask, nobody seems to know anything about him. A total mystery of the deep.

John Helly taught us about latitude and longitude while we were still in Punta Arenas. They can be used to tell where we are. If you get a map, you will see little blue lines on it, some running horizontally and some running vertically. The horizontal ones are latitude lines. The vertical ones are longitude. We are currently at -58′ 0″ latitude and -56′ 0″ longitude, and are heading mostly east and a little south. We are making for Elephant Island, where Shackleton landed. I think. Yesterday, Dr. Smith said we would head for the Coronation Islands, but I guess they changed their minds. I will double check when I am feeling better. Which I hope will happen very soon, because we will reach our first iceberg tomorrow, and they might fly the airplane. Rainy has been learning to fly it on a simulator, and Ash and I are totally jealous. Yuck. I’d better go lie down for a while.