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Live the adventures of Dan Walker's travels through reading his travel journal. The travel journals are listed below in descending order of date. To search the travel journals, use the keyword search at the bottom of the page.

Journal Entry:

Tuesday, April 07, 2015 02:48:56

ANTARCTICA & IBERIA 2015: 5 South South Orkney Islands to Bouvet Island

Sunday, April 5, 2015 - Easter Day

We are now on our fourth sea day since our last landing. The first day was with relatively calm seas (for the Southern Ocean), but by the second day winds had increased to 40 knots, which made my walk around the deck challenging. Crossing the deck when it was sloping downwards and getting a strong wind gust from behind tended to lift me off my feet, making braking before hitting the railing difficult. Yesterday winds were 70 knots, foaming sea and whitecaps with huge rollers. I chose not to do my afternoon walk around deck, it was difficult enough to move around inside the ship

They closed the steel covers over the two portholes in our cabin, but I opened them again. It seems if one is paying for a porthole cabin one should be able to look through them! They were closed again when we returned to the cabin. Apparently this is on the captain's orders, as he is afraid the porthole windows might break, which seemed to indicate little faith in his ship. This is the first expedition ship we've been on that has closed off the windows. Even the windows in the dining room are blocked off

Today was to be the day we landed on Bouvet Island, however as the captain had slowed to 7 knots per hour, down from the speedy 10 per hour we were doing, we didn't get there before dark. Although the weather forecast and rough seas were ill omens, we will try to land tomorrow. One bright spot was that the skies cleared and the sun came out this afternoon, but it was still very cold. There was a special Easter breakfast of eggs Benedict, with three chocolate eggs each. Marilynn didn't come for breakfast - she hasn't since getting a cold - but I took the chocolate eggs to her

I'm not very impressed with the captain and some of the ships officers. With notable exceptions, they are not friendly, even to not returning a good morning greeting. They are never in the lounge, keeping to themselves. This is a relocation cruise, and it seems the captain is a lot more interested in getting from point A to B than in exploration. Explorer is the only ship we've been on in these waters, but when it was owned by Abercrombie & Kent they would always be changing course to see something special, and even in a force 12 gale they didn't cover up the portholes. Also, the bar was much better laid out for socializing, and the ship's officers would regularly join us for a drink after their shift, so we got to know them well. One thing I will say about this ship is that it rides well in heavy seas, with far less rolling than we had with explorer

The cabins on board have heating controls in them, but they don't work, so all cabins are kept at the same temperature. One lady measured it at 64 degrees F, about 17C. The hotel staff - cleaners, waiters, bartender - are really great, and they got us an electric heater for the cabin. I've been spending a fair bit of time there reading or on the computer - I'm going through a 500 to 600 page book every 2 days, selected from the small library in the bar. Marilynn is playing bridge with a group in the lounge every afternoon - she is almost over her cold. Rack of lamb for the second time for dinner

Monday, April 6, 2015

Breakfast was early, at 7 AM, to give us time to go ashore, but the seas are rough and the winds strong. We came along side of Bouvet Island, and could see heavy surf on the shore. We circumnavigated the island, well offshore, looking for a calmer place to land, but the seas have become even heavier with huge waves. We could see the only sign of human involvement in two small buildings attached to a bit of bare rock which contain an automated weather station. Bouvet Island is a volcano completely covered by an ice cap that becomes ice cliffs above the ocean. It is the most isolated island on the face of the earth - there is no land of any kind within 1,000 miles of it in any direction. Not a good place to have a breakdown, or a serious injury. The closest port is Capetown, 9 sea days away

A meeting was called in the bar at noon to say they are awaiting a decision from the ship's owners as to what we are to do, as the whole reason for this cruise was to land on Bouvet, but the serious travellers aboard who wanted to add Bouvet to their list were in agreement that there was no way. No one was foolhardy enough to press for a zodiac ride to a shore it may be impossible to land on, and even more difficult to get off. In the end the owners said to leave it for one more day, as they had promised in the advertising to spend 48 hours trying to get ashore on Bouvet

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Breakfast was early in case we found a spot to get ashore, but no one expected it. The wind had dropped to only 35 knots, but the waves were still considerable. After going around the island once more, at 9 AM the decision was taken to head for Gough Island, it will be about 5 days to get there. The experienced travellers on board knew the odds of getting ashore were not great, so though disappointed all agreed with the decision