Day 31: 31 January 2019

Today we have been off the very tip of the Antarctic Peninsula and then crossing the Bransfield Straits on our way to King George Island.  Making good time, 17 knots through mixed ice but all quite widely spread.

All a bit angsty on board, and understandably so.   We know that ten of the scientists will be leaving on the first flight out tomorrow but, during the day, we had no idea who they might be.  In the lounges it has been elbows on the tables and enormous amounts of intense discussion.  It all reminded me a  bit of those French existential movies of the seventies (which us students with our weak beards, up-turned collars and self-consciously pretentious hats used to think were so deep) .

The world of science is like that of archaeology, ridden with feuds and vendettas,  prima donnas  and performing egos, but somehow none of that has made its way on to this ship.    From the day we left Penguin Bukta there has been nothing but big smiles and bags of purpose.  Everybody came together for Shackleton and science. 

During the evening those who will leave tomorrow were informed.  There was much dejection, and yes, tears.  They were all understanding of why this had to be, but there can be no doubt that this night ten of our number were served a tepid dish of damned bad luck and rotten potatoes.

Noon position:  62  21.8  S,  048  33.2  W