Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The First Couple of Days ....

Arctic Cotton

The first couple of days on board ship, I was fighting a sore throat, runny nose, you name it .... so I didn't go off with the rest in the Zodiacs, hoping I'd win the fight with the germs and have some healthful days ahead! Well, ha, ha on me! I'm still sick with bronchitis after all that, so I'm glad I gave up and finally went about doing what I could do!

It's a busy schedule on board the Explorer. You might think, well, there she was sleeping and relaxing, perhaps reading a good book ... but hey, this was about
EXPLORING and going on EXPEDITIONS ashore to learn about the local culture and perhaps to catch a glimpse of some local wildlife. In between trips there were lectures to attend about the flora and fauna of this place called the Arctic, movies directed and produced by one of my favorite expedition leaders, Culturalist, John Houston, (not to be missed) and new friends to be made in the lounge over a brew or glass of wine. Dinners were mostly late .... 7:30 to 8 PM, and most nights I tumbled into the sack after my last bite. I sometimes read for a few minutes before falling sound asleep, lulled by the motion of that big cradle I was living in. Instead of fighting the pitch and roll, I decided it best to just go with the flow and sure enough, within a few minutes, I'd be out cold.

At around 6:30 AM, we'd be awakened by the voice of Head Trip Leader, Matthew Swan, over the intercom, telling us when breakfast would be served and when we would be expected to climb into the Zociacs for a cold, early morning excursion to shore; whether it would be a dry or a wet landing (you had to dress accordingly); what the temperature of the air and water was in Celcius; and of course the "Rock Report," by none other than, head rock hound and a Senior Research Scientist at the Geological Survey of Canada, Marc St-Onge, who has to be one of the happiest, most enthusiastic (mostly about rocks) people I've ever met. He would usually give a two or three word quip for the geologists and the rest of us who were interested, about which ancient "craton" we might find evidence of when we went ashore. (For the uninformed, a craton is a continental landmass created some 1.8 billion years ago, during a period of global amalgamation of the then existing continental landmasses.")

Lunch was always a full meal with an appetizer, a main course and dessert. After a while I had to ask for just a salad which was always a huge, fabulous concoction of fresh greens and vegatables with cheese or chicken or smoked salmon. The food was good, especially the soups. There was fruit available at all meals, but because fruit doesn't last a long time, there wasn't the variety I was used to. Anyway, I was really afraid I'd come home looking like a blimp! I still haven't weighed in and won't until I have a couple of week's worth of green smoothies for breakfast under my belt ... I am getting there! What I don't know won't hurt me, is my attitude toward vacation weight gain!!


Star said...

That photo is just gorgeous, Joan. It looks like the perfect place to allow the world and its cares to fall away while the soul regenerates. Probably not viable when on a scheduled expedition, but the peacefulness the photo imparts leads me to believe the that place has restorative value whether you spend a few minutes or hours.

I hope you're feeling much better soon.

Visual-Voice said...

"...one of the happiest, most enthusiastic (mostly about rocks) people I've ever met."

ha. Made me laugh. Man, I'm glad you just went ahead with the adventure despite the soar throat.. I hope you're finally on the mend! What an adventure!

Visual-Voice said...

Oh, and the Artic Cotton is way way COOL!