Stanley Arrival

0130Z 23JAN22, anchored in Stanley Harbour, Falkland Islands.

Day 5, Drake Passage Northbound
10.5 hours: 62nm, 5.9kts avg SOG.
Passage Information: 676nm, 4d 10.5h (106.5hrs), 6.4kts avg SOG!!!, 14h on engine
Casualties: jib sheet, furling foil - section separated, genoa damage, watermaker (likely air block that wasn't clearing easily) also ripped bimini seams from wind in Yankee Harbour before departure. [The list of things needed to be fixed/maintained/completed includes more things, but these are the major issues of the passage.]

The last hours were very pleasant sailing! The skies were gray, visibility was a bit low and there was a bit of drizzle throughout the day. However the winds continued to calm and were largely 15kts +/- 5kts. The seas became calm. Dolphins frolicked around us while birds soared the skies. We shook out all the reefs and commented that we don't remember when we last sailed without any reefs in the main and a full genoa! Even when the wind seemed to by dying, the current kept us moving smoothly along.

We tried to make a pre-sunset arrival, but we knew it was pretty unlikely. We gave it a good go for a bit, but once all the reefs were out there wasn't much more to be done. So we sat back, relaxed and enjoyed the day and the comfortable sailing, which was a nice change after 4 days of sailing fast and hard. As our speed dropped we avoided the initial temptation to turn on the engine.

After a nice spaghetti dinner and about an hour before sunset, the wind had moved aft of us; our speed had dropped under 4kts; the fleet of large squid fishing boats was heading out of Stanley for the first day of squid fishing season; and the visibility declined amidst a light drizzle. We decided it was time to wrap everything up and turn on the engine. We deliberately took in our sails and cleared the deck gear in the last of the daylight, then motored the last couple of hours up to Stanley. We did end up with a bit more wind and figured we could have easily sailed with the genoa only, but with the furling foil separated at the top, furling the sail in and out could cause more damage (or maybe we were just finished and not wanting to do night sailing coming into an unknown harbour with fishing boats moving about?).

We aren't big fans of night arrivals and try to avoid them, but dropping anchor and sleeping for the night seemed way better than another night on this passage. Stanley is well lit and the visibility came back up as the drizzle disappeared. Additionally everyone seemed to have AIS which makes things so much more straightforward! It's simple to tell which blob of lights is anchored and which is moving. For those that are moving, you can tell at a glance how you will pass and at what distance and exactly when.

We passed through the outer harbour (Port William) and breathed in the first scents of land. Such a delightful thing - the Falklands smells very pete-y - we suddenly had a desire for a dram of scotch! Then we lined up to pass through the narrows. The narrows is the small entry into the inner bay of Stanley Harbour. It has a nice leading line and is well lit with navigational marks, but any passage like that for the first time and at night is a bit nerve wracking. The Falklands is known for being very windy. While we had a fairly calm day, the wind certainly funneled through the narrows a bit raising a last bit of adrenaline for the passage and as a Falklands' welcome. We passed easily through and the winds in the inner bay were fine. We dropped anchor off of the Public Jetty, secured everything, had a small celebratory drink and fell into bed exhausted and content.

Supplement: As we haven't posted this in a timely manner, we will add about our first day in Stanley. We slept in on Wednesday (23 Feb) and made a nice big breakfast. We got the boat organized a bit and then called customs. We arranged to come into the Public Jetty and for our meeting with customs and immigration aboard Zephyros. From paperwork that we submitted, they declared us a clean vessel, as we arrived from Antarctica, had not been around anyone for the past 10+ days nor shown any COVID symptoms in those 10 days. This meant we didn't have to quarantine and would be allowed to come straight on to the Public Jetty.

Around 10:30 we moved the boat in and at 11:00 a friendly officer came to do all our check-in. There was a bit of paperwork, but it was easily completed in a helpful fashion and we were officially checked into a new country for the first time in 2.5 years! We had nearly forgotten about this process and part of cruising.

We sent the boys off for an explore around town. Jon set to work on the watermaker and Megan to doing dishes and getting the galley back into some order. The boys quickly returned with extremely excited reports of all the interesting items at the supermarket. We listened and then sent them away again.

Our local friend, Andrez stopped by to say hello. He has ideas on how to help build a replacement part for our steering and has a sailmaker's sewing machine! Not only are he and his wife Alison, super nice, they are a treasure trove of information and assistance. They are also sailors making passage preparations and we are planning to travel to St Helena together.

After that we went out for a walk to try to get some cash. We found a park and left the boys to play on it. It was a nice playground with a big zipline, a big climbing structure and an interesting spinning swing set up. Daxton expended some of his boundless energy. Ronan reluctantly stayed with him. We didn't quite manage to walk far enough to the gas station to get to the cash machine. We had left the map with the boys and had thought we could pay with a card for most things in town, so decided to just go to the supermarket and leave the ATM for another day.

We started shopping and were quickly overwhelmed. We don't have our hand truck to drag groceries across town anymore - it wasn't doing well and finally died after the last large shopping trip in Puerto Williams - so we had just taken a few bags and didn't plan to buy too much at the store. We tried to keep it reasonable while still getting a few treats and new things to try. (One should always try new canned meat type things before stocking up on them!!!) We also picked up a couple of meals. We tried to go down every aisle and see what all there was, but it was proving to be a bit too much for still tired brains. The boys had found us and continued to distract a very unfocused Megan. So, Jon moved into herding mode to try to drive us through and out of the store—stray cats are easier to direct and more agreeable.

We got back to the boat. The boys enjoyed some Ben & Jerry's ice cream for the first time in years. We put things away and chatted with Andrez and Alison who had stopped by to check on us. After a bit, they were on their way and we hatched a plan to try to go get some fish and chips as a celebratory meal. As we couldn't find the RCC recommended fish and chips place (maybe it closed), we went to the Victory Pub. Their kitchen was closed (the cook was sick) and we settled on some pints of beer for the parents. Then we found out they don't take credit cards and we don't have cash… hahaha. Easily solved with a tab that we promised to settle the next day. The boys were now melting fast - probably coming off of that sugar high. They were disappointed that there was no celebratory meal out and were about to sulk off to the boat. Jon took them by the fast food / hamburger place that we passed on the way to the pub. Good news, they have fish and chips! Bad news, they don't take credit cards. Hahaha!!!

So the boys sulked off to the boat and Jon returned to finish his pint with Megan. The parents enjoyed a few quiet minutes together and came up with a plan. Jon had made the very practical purchase of fresh lamb and frozen green beans at the supermarket so there was really no problem. We easily had a delicious meal available. Cash could be solved in the morning, and we would salvage the evening. About the time we were finishing the pints Daxton arrived, still rather grumpy. He didn't really like the plan and remained disappointed (and hangry). It seemed we were all still very tired from the passage and probably more than a little overwhelmed with all the new choices and things to see.

We got back to the boat, opened up chips and salsa and Jon set to cooking. We are now in the last half of a TV series (The Man in the High Castle) and we started the next episode. As the chips and salsa filled some of the need for food, the mood quickly raised a bit though Daxton remained grumpy about not really wanting lamb (lamb is his absolute favorite). Jon slid some lamb in front of him and he quickly devoured it, along with the green beans. He ate some more chops and then some more. In total he had 6 chops! Ronan had 4, the parents split the last 5 before they too disappeared. Obviously Daxton was hungry and Ronan's appetite seemed to be returning as he had some left over spaghetti as a pre-dinner meal while we were finishing those pints.

After dinner we were down to one more episode in the series, but saved it for another day. We were off to bed early as we were clearly all still tired from the passage and eventful day.

We are checked in and cleared for a 2 week stay. We're all still a bit landsick (the land feels like it is moving a bit) after all the movement on the boat. We do have a long list of things to do and expect - with the sail repair and steering part replacement especially - we may need closer to 3 weeks, but that should be possible to request, if required. There is a new energy aboard and it feels exciting to be back into real cruising and exploring mode!

Not sure when we will post to the blog again as we will be quite busy with repairs. We will certainly be back with at least a summary and then for our log entries on the passage to St Helena. Thank you for your support and for following us on this amazing journey!

Day 4, Drake Passage Northbound

1500Z 22FEB22, Day 4, Drake Passage Northbound. Well, that was a tough one! Thankfully we have had a chance to breathe and the weather has improved since about 5am and we are currently having a nice sail in calm gray seas.

Current Position: 52 35S / 057 47W
24 hour progress: 148nm, 6.2kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 614nm, approximately 60nm to Stanley!

We have continued to sail hard. It has taken a toll on all of us. We try to keep this log light while remaining truthful. Day 4, was just one of those days where we feel beat down. Probably, after a good night's sleep and a good meal, we will feel ready to tackle everything, but right now it all seems daunting.

We continued sailing as close hauled as we could. We pushed hard and the winds were strong. Eventually we admitted the winds were still going to continue to build so we better put in the 4th reef. Jon had been watching water roll across the deck for hours so he was not looking forward to doing this. He reluctantly agreed and did hero's work! He got fully drenched multiple times by multiple waves (Megan felt like he needed AWOL Nation's "Sail" blasting over speakers. He would have fit right into the Volvo race videos with the song.) He put in the 4th reef and retrieved all our wayward reefing lines that had washed overboard in the continuous wave pummeling.

That setup seemed to work out ok, close hauled(ish) with 4 reefs in the main and 2 in the genoa. Eventually the wind angle improved and we could fall off to a close reach. This increased our speed which increased the pounding and the misery. We got into the "just get it over with" mindset (similar to last year's northbound Drake passage) so we didn't rush to reef the genoa further. Basically, at this point, we knew that seeing speeds over 6kts gave us a chance at a sunset arrival. Speeds under 6kts was time that either needed to be made up (tough to do) or that cost us daylight. So on we pounded and bashed.

A couple of hours after sunset and right after a watch turnover with the wind still blowing (40kts +/- 5kts), Nike stopped being able to hold course and things were wrong. We immediately thought we had lost Nike and both had visions of hand steering through the whole night…well, that would be a whole new level of suck! We were both out on deck. A check of the rudder and a deck light showed we had blown our jib sheet and the genoa was flapping around wildly in the wind. (The line that holds our forward sail to either side, split in two.) We furled in the genoa, walked the port sheet to the starboard side and Jon removed the remaining part of the original starboard sheet. As the sail was flogging itself for a period, we definitely knew we had some damage that will need to be addressed. However, we did roll out the genoa again and were back to sailing - this time with 3 reefs in. Daylight inspection appears that the sunbrella protective fabric and maybe the leech line envelope are all damaged and flapping around. We also had the furling foil separate (again!) and that caused a rip across the head of the sail. Hopefully some sewing machine time and insignia cloth will have us patched up without too much drama.

We were overly optimistic about the wind forecast. The wind that was supposed to come down took a lot longer to come back down. And it was quite strong, closer to that worst case outlier. The seas were big and in a sort of "it all happens at once" type situation - we had the worst winds while crossing a shelf where the sea bed was only 100 or so meters deep rather than thousands. This always increases wave size and reduces the time between waves. It was definitely challenging and exhausting sailing in big seas.

It seems we had mentally prepared for about 12 hours of suck and were handed more like 20. Sleep deprived and having sailed really hard for 3 days before that… well, as we said, it was taking a toll.

Ronan had also been really sea sick and we had barely seen him in the rough weather which worries both parents. (He's laughing and seems good this morning now that everything is more settled - he'll be really hungry soon.) Daxton had been out and chatting, helping to cook and helping to care for Ronan - ensuring he's drinking water and encouraging him to eat. Ronan did say to Daxton last night that he wanted cheeseburgers in the Falklands so we all knew he was most probably fine even in the rough stuff.

We are all looking forward to landfall! It's looking like landfall will be around sunset - the question is if we can squeeze out enough to get in before or if it will be a few hours after. We continue to push to see what we can get.

It will take some time to get the boat cleaned and put back together as there is a lot of water, both bathroom drain pumps keep running; there is condensation everywhere; the chain locker took on a bit of water from all the bashing and water over the deck so our bilges are dirty and need to be drained and wiped out; everything needs to be restowed after the bashing; the water maker needs resetting (which had been true the whole passage but nobody wanted to do it in the conditions—Megan tried a couple of times this morning but it didn't fix it); Nike still needs a more permanent fix; the new dagger board spacers waiting in the Falklands need to be shaped and installed; there is sail and canvas work; and then we need to do laundry, provision and fuel up for the next passage. The list is feeling very incomplete and long…

Day 3, Drake Passage Northbound

1500Z 21FEB22, Day 3, Drake Passage Northbound. This morning, the sun came out and there were some blue skies showing which was a treat after the gray blah of yesterday.

Current Position: 55 01S / 058 08W
24 hour progress: 154nm, 6.4kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 466nm, approximately 205nm to Stanley Harbour in the Falklands.

We have been sailing as close hauled as we can since this morning. Before that we were on a beam reach that kept moving closer and closer to the wind to maintain course to Stanley. We are about as close to the wind as it makes sense for us to be and 10 or so degrees off of the direct course. The wind should move towards the south again so we should be able to have a better course and eventually fall off again. The main has 3 reefs in and the genoa has 2. The winds are back up over 30kts and the seas are back up, making for a rough ride as we bash to windward.

We passed through the Antarctic Convergence Zone and sea temps are slowly getting warmer—43F/6C. The boat is a bit less cold and should get warmer through the day, we hope. Progress remains excellent, though we expect the extra current push is now over.

When planning the trip north, Monday always looked to be the windiest day with the toughest point of sail and large seas. One forecast model shows it a bit more windy than all the others. We are hoping that one is wrong, but expecting the truth is probably in between. At any rate we expect it to be the challenging day of the passage and will be glad to get it behind us. The wind has been building all morning. It should peak this afternoon/evening and then start coming back down again overnight.

We are all looking forward to landfall in the Falklands! Today's progress in the windy weather will decide whether we are trying for a Tuesday sunset arrival or trying to slow down for a Wednesday sunrise arrival. We'll probably not do either especially well and get an arrival in the dark between the two. So far, we are still pushing and bashing away…

Day 2, Drake Passage Northbound

1500Z 20FEB22, Day 2, Drake Passage Northbound. It's a gray, gray day out here this morning. However the progress is great and we are in good spirits.

Current Position: 57 32S / 058 54W
24 hour progress: 161nm(!), 6.7kts avg SOG. Overall progress for the passage is 312nm, approximately 360nm to Stanley Harbour. We are sailing a beam reach and making fast average speeds for Zephyros - she does like 25kts of wind and a reach. The main has 3 reefs in and we are sailing the full genoa. The winds and seas have calmed a bit. The train continues to barrel on with a more or less direct course to the entry to Stanley.

We had sun yesterday to warm the pilot house and a nice sunset last night. We even had a bit of clear sky to see the full moon and some stars, but that is all gone now. It's just haze gray. And cold. The water temperature is still cold (36F / 2.3C) which keeps the boat cold and damp. We are dreaming of hot showers and running the heater again.

Day 2 was uneventful and fast sailing — always good. Sea legs should continue to improve throughout the day. We are all doing well. Adjusting, sleeping and wearing lots of layers.

We had a couple of dolphins that kept us company for awhile on Saturday afternoon and then again at sunset. We were surprised by how far south they were. There have also been lots of the usual birds - albatrosses, giant petrels, storm petrels, prions.

Day 1, Drake Passage Northbound

1500Z 19FEB22, Day 1, Drake Passage Northbound. We departed from our weather window resting spot in Yankee Harbour at noon (local time).

Current Position: 60 09S / 059 34W
24 hour progress: 151nm(!), 6.3kts avg SOG, just under 11h of engine time, approximately 515nm to Stanley Harbour in the Falklands. We are sailing a broad reach, with winds aft of the beam and moving well. The main has 3 reefs in and the genoa has 3 as well. Around sunrise the winds picked up a bit (as forecast), but with the winds aft of the beam we can still sail pretty hard, pretty much directly on course. The seas are large but following, and we have this train moving down the rails.

Prior to pushing off, we started the day with new snow dusting everything and very gusty winds in the anchorage. We find this more disruptive than steady strong winds. It causes the boat to jerk around a bit and there isn't a rhythm to it that you can block out to sleep through. (Not that it is easy to sleep in strong winds, but if you are confident the anchor is well dug in, you can turn off your mind to the howling winds and sleep reasonably well.) With the gusty winds it is more difficult to get restful sleep as the mind is often aware of the changes in sounds. It didn't help that there were some decent sized chunks of brash ice blowing into the hull every so often. All this to say, we didn't sleep especially well and the wind was still going (but more steadily than gusty) as we got up and worked on final preparations before departing.

The plan was to take advantage of a forecast lull in the wind and to try to make slack tide at the passage between islands. Tides in Antarctica are tricky. There isn't a lot of data and the station that was closest to us was a bay over so wouldn't necessarily be exact for us. Add to that this station had two entries in our tide tables that showed low tide an hour apart. Which one was right? And did we even want to try the pass if the winds were high? Going around would mean an extra 25+nm, we would be further east and oh, by the way, that spot also experiences strong tidal currents as it is also a tidal choke point (but wider) between islands.

So lots of balls in the air, and we were doing our best to juggle them all. The wind came down and off we went. In hindsight we probably should have worried less about the wind coming down and just started for the strait at 11am like we had thought from the tide tables. After all, "Time and tide, wait for no man." Then if the wind hadn't come down we could have discussed bailout options while being in a good spot to make the strait if they did come down.

All was well as we started off across Moon Bay towards the strait. A bit rolly, but winds were 10-15kts and we made good progress. We were chasing an Argentinian supply ship and we thought perhaps he was going to travel the pass too, but he turned around, which made more sense, before reaching the narrows. As we approached the narrows the turbulent water was churning with eddies and washing machine waves and our speed was reduced. All was still fine, but we were starting to look like perhaps we were late and had missed slack water. The other thing that happens in choke points is that slack water is often an hour or so different than high or low tides and the turbulent areas can be before or after the choke point. We aren't great guessing how these tidal affects will present without solid data and they remain challenging "growth areas of opportunity", but then again experience and local knowledge is how these things are dealt with.

As we proceeded, we bumped up the throttle and looked at the chart to see the narrowest spot. We continued to move ok with steerage and adjusted the helm (glad Nike is on duty again!) with an eye to the turbulence, the narrows and the chart. We lost speed again and pushed the throttle higher, but we were pretty close to what should have been the worst part. It briefly looked like we might not make it if the current grew any stronger, but we were still clawing our way through so we kept pushing forward. We put out a bit of sail to give ourselves a little more help. And slowly, slowly we started gaining ground and then gaining some speed. Whew! That was a tough one.

After we got through the narrowest part we kept the throttle up and kept pushing. The churn gradually lessened and the ocean swell arrived. We wound our way through the rocks and small islands and headed for the deeper southern ocean. We did pass another basalt formation which was interesting. We weren't especially close to it and we all deemed the other one "better" (which may mean it was just easier to get to, to get close to and the day/light was nicer and not really be indicative of anything).

As we were pulling away from the South Shetlands and the water was getting deeper we had some whales pass in front of us. This was a nice way to say goodbye to Antarctica. We hadn't had a day with lots of whales like we had a couple of times last year. So it was nice to see about 10 or so spouts and backs and tails crossing our path. They were difficult to see in the rolly swell until rather close, but there were quite a few. Always enjoyable to witness. There were also penguins and sea lions that frolicked around the boat to see us off. The last sea lions said goodbye about 25nm out. Now we just have the birds soaring around us and skimming the churning waves.

North of the South Shetlands, the wind was indeed light at around 5kts (yay working anemometer!) and we motored along at normal rpms, with the main up at the 3rd reef, and set course for Stanley. We began to settle into passage routines, Daxton got sea-sick (there was a bucket by him this time! But he still managed to get a significant portion out of the bucket while also getting some in the bucket so Megan grumpily cleaned up) and Megan made dinner.

Jon took the first night watch and was able to secure the engine around 10:30. We were sailing and making decent speed, not too shabby. Though we were not missing the noise, we were quickly missing the engine heat inside the boat. Brrrrrr!

We have been sailing hard ever since. The sun has come out this morning and we are all in good spirits. Everyone is a bit low key with the large waves and finding our sea legs. But the ride is decently comfortable. Both boys have gotten sick, but that is typical and they deal well with it - sleeping, resting and eating. Jon is still holding strong so far. And Megan still wears that iron stomach crown. The winds should calm a bit this evening, and we can have a bit more genoa out again. Hopefully we can keep up the good speeds with some continued, current assistance.

Falklands Bound

And we are off to pass through the Drake once again! We are headed to the Falklands for a stop to re-provision, rest, refuel and make any needed repairs (like that bolt and the repair of some newly torn bimini canvas) before continuing northward. And laundry, laundry would be good.

The last few days have been quite pleasant. We have gotten walks in ashore every day. We have had nice relaxed family time with games and baking. We have worked together to get the boat ready to make the passage. The weather has been windy at times (annoyingly mostly while trying to sleep) and dead calm at times. We have had a nice sunny day and also some gray, low visibility days.

We woke up on Wednesday to a whole lot of brash ice all around. We wondered if we would need to move. However, It cleared up over the course of the day with the tide and a little bit of wind. So we stayed put in Yankee Harbour while watching weather, preparing and planning.

Thursday we had a really calm day, after a windy night, which worked out well for getting everything ready for passage making. We also got a last shore excursion in before a cruise ship arrived. We were lucky to get the best visibility and least drizzle of the day. We then worked on deflating the dinghy and stowed everything for passage making.

Overnight the winds became really gusty and we continued to have some ice knocking on our hull. It hasn't been the most restful nights' sleep the past few nights. We woke up to fresh snow sprinkled on the hills and penguins blending in. The wind continued to blow for awhile - prompting both boys to ask if we were really still planning to leave. Then seemingly someone flipped the off switch and all was soon calm again. So the midday departure in the calm was on as we are prepped and ready to go.

Bye, bye Antarctica! You've been magnificent, again. Looking forward to new adventures and hoping for a good passage!

Week 4, Antarctica 2022 Expedition

Highlights - Walking & Penguins (Gentoo, Chinstrap & a wayward King!)

Tuesday (7 Feb) there was horrible, terrible weather. A very windy, gray, blowy day. Kotik was hunkered down in the same huge bay about a half mile away. It was comforting to see Kotik out the aft window and nice to be able to have radio chats. It was kind of like being able to text across boats on a stormy day back in Puerto Williams. Upon our request, Kotik passed us the rules of a card game that Ronan had played on Kotik giving us a new card game that we moved into rotation. It was great to have a new game and the opportunity to ask clarifying questions whenever needed. We also took a radio call from Adrianna to chat with Megan about recipes so that Kotik could make cinnamon rolls and pizza. It certainly made hunkering down on a bad weather day more interesting and a bit less lonely.

Wednesday we planned to move to Deception which is a long day. Kotik had not decided what their plans were. They were watching for their weather window back to Puerto Williams and the weather wasn't looking especially great. We were up and getting ready to head out, but wanted to know if it was goodbye to Kotik or if they would also be heading to Deception. They called us up to say they thought they should stay south so that they could leave from Melchior. This would put them farther west as the wind seemed to be all heavy and westerly for their window. We all got dressed in outdoor gear to get in the dinghy and to go to say our "see you laters". It was definitely another tough one! Our little pandemic Micalvi group was a special bunch. We know we will keep in touch and see Igor again, but we are incredibly grateful for his friendship. He has been an inspiration and a treasure trove of information, advice and help. He has definitely made our two trips to Antarctica so much better and less stressful than they would have been otherwise. He has been a great friend in Puerto Williams with whom we've shared meals, repaired sails, sailed together in the Beagle, gone adventuring, sent the boys out hunting, etc. We all felt sad to be closing that chapter for now, but we remain certain we will see him again.

We left midday to go to Deception which is late, considering it is a 65nm day. We pushed the engine a little on a day that was gray, overcast and calm at the start. We went around the west side of Trinity hoping to see Spert Island and its interesting rocks and cliffs along the way. Of course, it decided to completely fog in about the time we arrived near Spert. It remained low visibility until we got north of Trinity. Then it evolved into pretty nice weather, with rolly seas. Overall, it was a long uneventful day. We stood watches, grabbed naps, made lunch and dinner in some rolly conditions. It felt like a goodbye to coastal cruising and preparation for passage making.

We arrived at Deception right after sunset and passed through Neptune's Bellows in post-sunset light. The weather was nice and settled which meant we could anchor off of Whaler's Bay which is just inside of the caldera (rather than needing to continue to a more secure anchorage another hour away). We anchored about an hour after sunset and still had a bit of light. It was straightforward and good to be done. We were all quickly to bed.

Thursday morning we awoke to radio traffic and had a cruise ship anchored next to us before 8am. It was foggy and eerie as the cruise ship passengers made their shore excursion. We mixed up pancake batter and waited for the morning cruise ship excursion to finish. They were gone by 10 or so and we got ourselves ready to go ashore as we knew there was another ship in Deception up by Pendulum Cove. We had made the assumption that they were another cruise ship and would be down to Whaler's Bay after the 1st cruise ship left.

We went ashore and walked all around. We revisited all of the buildings at the site. We walked up Ronald Hill. We walked along the beach, getting a chuckle out of a lone molting gentoo penguin, and watched lots of fur seals (actually sea lions) along the beach. Some posed, some fought each other, many just laid there asleep. We walked up to Neptune's Window but the fog rolled in so you really couldn't see much. Then we strolled back down the beach to the dinghy. On the walk back, we heard what sounded like a small plane or helicopter. We looked around for it and eventually caught a glimpse of a helicopter. Maybe that other ship was a yacht with a helicopter? We stopped along the beach where the steam comes up to check the water temperatures. Some cruise ship passengers had gone swimming in this area earlier in the day. None of us decided to swim, but we put our hands in the water and sand to feel the thermal activity. It was quite hot in places in the sand. But the sea water was still a bit cold for swimming. It's always interesting to experience thermal, volcanic activity.

Eventually we headed back to the dinghy and were glad we didn't have any competition with a cruise ship. Back aboard Zephyros we (finally) looked at the details of that vessel anchored in Pendulum Cove - turns out it was a Chilean Search and Rescue ship. Ah, perhaps that explains the helicopter!?! (We have since seen the helicopter again and also heard that a cruise ship here does have a helicopter.) We had a pancake lunch and discussed plans for the afternoon. We definitely felt like we should take advantage of the settled, calm weather and do some more activities.

In the afternoon, we raised anchor and set off for the Argentinian base inside the caldera. There is supposed to be an easy walk to a chinstrap penguin rookery there. We had tried to go once last year but the weather turned on us and we didn't go ashore. This time we looked all around and could not figure out where the walk was / how it would work. So after some discussion we decided not to try to do the hike. We thought about going up to try to swim at the thermal springs in Pendulum Cove but with the Navy boat there, we didn't know if we would be intruding on operations. In the end, we headed back to Whaler's Bay. It was still a nice day trip around the caldera with good visibility and calm weather. Along the way back we stopped to rescue a large orange fender that was on the shore. We also found part of a kayak seat. We wondered if someone had put the two trash items together to pick up later, but we picked them both up anyway as we were there. Once back in Whaler's Bay we had dinner and played games. Then off to bed for another calm, quiet night's sleep.

Friday morning was a bit like the day before. We heard the radio crackling with the cruise ship announcing their planned entrance to Deception Island through Neptune's Bellows and we heard their anchor dropping in the bay. They were ashore by 8 am and we enjoyed the people watching of this larger cruise ship's passengers ashore. These cruise ship shore excursions are quite an operation.

We pulled weather data and discussed plans. The northbound passage across the Drake seemed not at all nice for the next week. We were hoping to depart sometime within that week, but as the weather looked so strong we decided it could be the following Thursday or later before we could set off. So we discussed how we could fill out the next week or so, what else we wanted to see and when we needed to be somewhere safe for stronger winds. It's always a trade off and compromise. However, it definitely seemed like we would be getting a full 4 weeks in Antarctica.

In the end, it seemed like we could stay in Deception and hunker down or we could move northeast to see new places. We had a family discussion and decided that we would move up to Yankee Harbour and Half Moon Island. This would allow us an opportunity to explore some new areas, have access to some nice walking, and hopefully see a Chinstrap rookery and more penguins in general.

We got underway just after 11am and headed out of Deception Island through Neptune's Bellows. We beat the cruise ship out and headed to Bailey Head. We opted not to go ashore but we marveled at the chinstrap penguins and seals through binoculars and the camera for a short while. We then started motoring towards Yankee Harbour and found the cruise ship had now departed and was headed to the same place as us, but 3x faster!

We arrived at Yankee Harbour after an uneventful 35nm of motoring. We dropped anchor around the time the cruise ship was wrapping up their shore excursions. As soon as they were clearing the shore we headed in. We had a nice evening stroll along the rocky spit. There were lots of gentoo penguins and fur seals. There were occasional chinstrap penguins and weddell seals. We laughed at the big, fluffy, molting baby penguins as they chased their parents around for food. It is always quite a sight. They get moving quickly and bounce off other penguins and fall down. We enjoyed the exploration and then we headed back to Zephyros for drinks with some glacial ice, dinner and bed. The wind picked up over night and we had quite a bit of ice knocking on our hull for a bit as the wind shifted so it was not exactly a quiet night's sleep. Yankee Harbour is behind a moraine with glaciers on one side so ice gets blown around in the bay. It is mostly small pieces of brash ice so it isn't a problem, but sometimes there is a lot of small ice, sometimes there is none, sometimes it hits us as it moves on or packs along the shoreline.

Saturday we awoke to windy weather and checked the forecast. It seemed like the wind was supposed to shift more and then really pick up. We got ourselves organized to go ashore. We enjoyed more walking, more penguins and more sea lions. As we were preparing to head back to Zephyros we all heard a very different bird call, we looked over and saw a king penguin! So we stayed and watched him for awhile. He seemed to be a lost penguin trying to figure out what the deal was with all these shorter, different looking, weird sounding gentoo penguins. We followed him around and took lots of pictures. Eventually he went on his way and we went on ours.

By now the weather was calm and sunny! We sure didn't see that in the forecast. We took advantage of the calm afternoon and did some pre-passage chores. Most importantly we emptied the fuel bladder into our tank. Yay! Don't have to worry about that thing on deck anymore. And, it went surprisingly easy. We hooked up a tube, turned the valve and it drained right into the tank. This is far better than the wrestling that we did last year with the smaller bladder and stiffer, shorter tube. It was nice to have our tank back to nearly full, that the transfer was easy, and that the bladder is now secured in a locker. We closed out Saturday with pizza and games.

Sunday, the weather was fairly settled and clear. We took a tour around Moon Bay (the greater bay / area where Half Moon Island and Yankee Harbour are located). We went over to the basalt formation that Daxton has wanted to see for the past two years. We motored over to it and it really didn't seem like much of anything. However, as we got closer we all thought it was actually pretty interesting. We drove around it, took lots of pictures and concluded we were glad we had swung by to see it after all. From there we moved over to Half Moon Island. There was a 30 meter (100ft) sailboat in the bay and a cruise ship arrived just before us. We let the cruise ship do their shore excursion while we prepped dinner. They were finished before too long and then we all headed ashore. We enjoyed this shore excursion as well. It was easy walking with lots of chinstrap penguins and occasional gentoos. We got to see baby chinstraps for the first time, but they were quite close to full grown, which wasn't a surprise this late in the season. They were still entertaining and fluffy. There were also lots of fur seals and occasional other seals. We wrapped up the shore trip with a nice long walk towards the old Argentinian base.

We decided the weather should be calm enough and blowing from a direction that was protected from the semi-circular island. It was a good night's sleep, but in the early Monday morning hours the winds picked up. We watched the 30m yacht re-anchor half a dozen times. We were thankful we were holding well, with a lot of scope, and waited for the wind to settle down a bit. It did, as forecast, and we took another shore excursion before the next cruise ship came in. The weather showed the winds would be shifting around again so we made a plan to go back to Yankee Harbour. It is well sheltered and the holding is good in mud - Half Moon is exposed in some sectors and is mostly rock and kelp so we just felt we would be more secure and comfortable in Yankee Harbour.

After repositioning back to Yankee Harbour in the early afternoon, we got another shore excursion in at Yankee and looked out at another cruise ship arriving soon thereafter. They were an interesting one to watch with a more elaborate setup and longer shore excursion time in small groups. They were gone by early evening and we settled in for another easy, calm night to close out week 4.

We are pleasantly surprised with how pretty the South Shetland Islands are. There are a lot of cruise ships passing through because it is easy walking and good penguin viewing. We definitely aren't secluded, but we can easily manage walks ashore around the cruise ship activities. Sailboats typically skip this area, especially if going back to Chile or Argentina as it is decently far east. Hopefully that won't be a problem for us as we will be heading to the Falklands which is pretty much due north.

We expect to remain in this area until our window arrives. We are thoroughly enjoying it and find it a good place to wait with good holding, walks and wildlife. We continue to actively study forecasts to find the best weather that we can to head to the Falklands. There looks to be a decent window this upcoming week; we will see how it develops and be deciding the best time to depart.

It seems that this year's Antarctic expedition is coming to a close for Zephyros and her crew. We are starting to look towards passage making and thinking of future plans and adventures.

Week 3, Antarctica 2022 Expedition

Highlights - Minke Whale encounter

Tuesday there was beautiful sunny weather and we got moving early. We weighed anchor and departed Cuverville. The conditions were calm and we easily moved through the ice that was around the anchorage. As we moved towards Whilhelmina Bay, we slowed down to watch some really nice humpback whale feeding. We could see their mouths and flippers. We weren't especially close to them but they didn't seem to mind us being nearby. They kept feeding, moved past us and then went back the other way. It made for some good whale watching.

We began moving again and entered Whilhelmina Bay. We tried to go the long winding way between islands and deep into the bay. However, we found there was quite a lot of ice deeper into the bay. At the same time, on the AIS, we were watching a large, square rigged, steel sailing ship, Europa, coming south from Enterprise island, which was our desired destination. We could see that Europa was still making pretty good speed so that seemed promising. Then we found our progress ground down to almost nothing amidst the dense ice, and saw they had slowed as well. We were still 7nm apart. It seemed like it could be a lot of work to close those 7nm; but, thankfully, we were able to back track and found more open water and made better progress again and they picked up speed as well.

We passed Europa, took some pictures and waved to them. Then we continued on towards Enterprise Island. Then the most amazing encounter unfolded. Jon saw a whale head spy hopping near our track through the narrows exiting the bay. We went to idle and watched for him to show himself again. He came closer and then started circling us and coming ever closer. He was a very curious Antarctic Minke whale and really seemed to be trying to figure out what type of whale we were as he investigated the hull and peered at us above. We couldn't believe how close he was coming and we were all on deck intently watching him. He swam slowly all around the boat and rolled over showing us his belly. The water was calm and clear so you could really see what he was doing. He would come up right beside us, to spyhop or to breath - we could smell his fishy, stinky breath. It looked like he might even be touching the boat. He would swim under us from one side to the other, turn around and swim back to the other side. It was amazing how long he stayed engaged with us.

Eventually we started drifting towards some icebergs and an area where the current was really moving, so we needed to move the boat a little to clear the ice and avoid the current. We had to watch for him to swim in front of us so that we knew it was safe to turn the propeller briefly. Then we had to watch to make sure when he came around to our stern or under the hull we were back to idle. After we cleared the ice we went back to drifting and he continued checking us out. He must have spent over an hour with us in total. We have some pictures and video, but mostly we just tried to be in the moment and enjoy his curiosity. At one point we thought he tried to push us, but then he did the same thing again and it seemed like he was blowing bubbles into us. We wonder what that behavior is? Do whales blow bubbles on to other whales to get their attention? Was he just trying to figure out what we were and experimenting? The experience was truly incredible and one that we will remember forever.

Once we left the Minke, we continued on to Enterprise Island. This is where the whaling supply ship Governoren sunk after it caught fire. Sailboats can tie up onto the wreck. It is said to be the closest thing to a marina in Antarctica. With a fellow boat from Micalvi there and then two more boats arriving later in the afternoon it definitely felt like Micalvi south this year! There was some wind in the forecast and we had all headed in there to be in a secure spot.

Wednesday's weather remained pleasant without significant wind - either we picked well or the forecast was wrong. The afternoon skies cleared up, with the sun shining, so Jon took the boys on a dinghy explore while Megan made dinner. They did the sailor thing of going ashore and climbing up a hill. Pretty much all the other boats there had done the same at some point during the day and there was a decent path of footprints to follow.

Thursday we thought about moving, but the weather suggested it would be windy still and we were in a good spot with nice weather. Additionally nobody else moved, and 2 of the boats were charters (charters typically keep moving as they have shorter visits to Antarctica), so it seemed like we were all thinking it best to stay put for the potential windy weather.

In the afternoon the parents went on a shore excursion. We climbed the hill again and it did look like there was a good bit of wind out in the Gerlach Strait. Then we went to climb another island's hill and see the water boats along the shore. The water boats are relics from the whaling days. They are flat bottomed wooden boats that were rowed to the glaciers, filled up with water and then brought to the whaling ships so that the ships were resupplied with fresh water. When climbing this smaller hill we also followed the tracks from another boat's shore excursion. However, this time there was also a slide track that had been made. So obviously that was going to be the way down! Megan slid down and Jon took video as his pants weren't really waterproof. Then we went back to Zephyros and told the boys to put on snow pants and snow gear. Jon changed his pants and took the boys back to the hill. Everyone enjoyed some glissading. Though Daxton was a bit disappointed as he was too light to go very fast. Ronan clearly had the fastest pants.

Friday was another beautiful, clear, sunny day and the charter boats were off very early. We were up but took a leisurely morning and left at a post breakfast relaxed hour. We did have a little metal boat outside of us. They weren't quite ready to leave but came out to let us get out from the inside and to tie themselves back up. We headed north and found ourselves with pretty solid wind. We rolled out the genoa and sailed along at a nice speed. We had planned to stop at Portal Point, which we hadn't been to before, but due to the strong wind and decent waves we thought there would be too much swell so we decided not to stop and passed quietly by admiring the glacier views.

We did go through the Graham Passage before heading to our anchorage spot. This was our third time through. Last year both times we went through the clouds set in and the visibility was low. This time it was clear skies and stunningly beautiful. There was a large humpback in the passage but he dove down and stayed away from us. It remained quite windy as we continued on to the spot we planned to anchor near Bluff Island. It is a beautiful spot and the holding is good. So we came in, dropped our anchor and enjoyed the rest of the windy afternoon aboard Zephyros.

Saturday was calm but overcast and dreary. We decided to stay put. We played more games, did boat chores and got some school work in. The kids are absolutely destroying the parents in this year's Antarctica spades tournament. They really are good at strategy. We seem to have taught them far too well. It was a fairly uneventful day and we were settling in for the night with Daxton reading his book in the pilot house before heading to bed. Suddenly Daxton and Ronan heard whistles and were telling us that Kotik was there!

We were all dressed and outside shortly thereafter as Kotik came close by and we chatted across the boats. They dropped their anchor a little ways off and we finished our chat over the radio before saying goodnight. It was nice to see Kotik out our window again. We discussed plans and found that we both planned to head the same direction in the morning.

By morning it was windy again in the anchorage. Igor came by in his dinghy to drop off our anemometer pieces and some extra fruit - that's some good service! We were happy to have just happened upon each other organically without anyone needing to modify plans to meet up to get us the part. He was quickly back to Kotik and pulling up his anchor. We also raised anchor and we each headed north with our separate agendas but hopeful that we would meet up in an anchorage again.

Sunday was one of those picture perfect, beautiful, sunny Antarctica days. We motored the 35nm up to Trinity Island. We marveled at the 360 degree vistas and enjoyed the trip. We dropped anchor in the late afternoon. As the winds were light and the weather lovely, we sent Jon up the mast to bring down the wind vane/anemometer unit. It turned into a pretty easy swap out. He brought the larger piece down, we looked at what broke and installed the 2 new pieces that were hand carried for us from France to Antarctica. With the pieces replaced, Jon went back up the mast and reinstalled the larger part and we had a working wind speed indicator again! Yay, for an easy fix of a boat issue in an exotic location! It seems that a small magnet had detached from a shaft in the part rather than us having worn out the bearings. So we should be able to glue the magnet back on and have a functional spare part. We wouldn't have known that was the problem without having the new parts on hand to compare. We are pleased to have resolved that issue and have a working anemometer and a probable spare. Amazing we were able to get the part carried from Paris and delivered in Antarctica after breaking it near Cape Horn. The world sure can be small.

After solving that issue we went to shore to walk with the penguins and marvel at the view back to the Peninsula. We had hoped to see Kotik come in and get a picture. But they were still off on their adventures so we did our own thing. We watched the gentoos and spotted a couple of random chinstraps as well. We also saw a fur seal (they are actually sea lions) who posed for some pictures as well as some weddell seals. We had a lovely evening and went to bed without seeing any signs of Kotik. We figured that meant they were having a good adventure and must have made different plans.

Monday we woke up, looked outside and found Kotik anchored in another area of the bay! There will forever be something comforting about seeing Kotik out our back window as we have for the better part of the last 2 years whenever we were both in Puerto Williams. Monday was gray and a bit windy. We planned to sit still and do a little baking. Megan tried out a new recipe (apple pie shortbread cookies - winner!) and made a batch as a thank you for Kotik bringing the parts (and giving us fruit, taking our bio for Denis & Perla's garden and a few other things - it's good to be friends with a very nice, bigger boat!). When the winds calmed down a bit in the evening we swung by Kotik to drop off the cookies and Mjollnir. We decided we didn't need the sledge hammer that we found in Paradise Harbour. So we labeled it with the name of Thor's hammer and added a Zephyros stamp. It was a nice little chat and good to meet Igor's aunt and sister, see Adrianna and Joao (from his Antarctica group last year), see Anton (Ronan's sailing classmate and fellow crew mate on Kotik when Ronan was on Kotik) as well as meet the others aboard. We didn't stay too long and scurried back across the bay to Zephyros on a windy, wet dinghy ride.

Then the winds really picked up that night. Fortunately / unfortunately we could now see how much wind there was. We were tipping up over 45kts and sleep was a bit fleeting Monday night. Thankfully it calmed to 15-20kts for a while which allowed better rest before picking up again in the early morning.

Week 3 seemed to be quite mixed with a nice pace. A little moving, a little sitting for weather. Some brilliant sunny days and some gray, blah days. We had lots of family time with games and outside time with penguins, whales, seals and fun in the snow. It was another interesting week. We shall see what week 4 brings as we start to look towards some new places to explore while also keeping an eye out for a potential weather window to begin our big trip north.

Week 2, Antarctica 2022 Expedition

Highlights - Penguins (Adelie! & Gentoo)
Challenges - ICE!

Shortly before we left for Antarctica, we read something that Lin Pardey wrote. She said that when cruising they never tell people their exact plans so that when their plans change nobody is the wiser. Yeah, we should have taken that advice and not said we would be going south.

This year the ice is very different than last year. With only two Antarctica trips we can't say which is more normal. However, this year there is a lot of ice in the area between Port Charcot and the Argentine Islands. Reports suggest that it may clear up a few miles after that, but getting there would likely require breaking out through the ice to the west, then making an offshore passage south to clear water. Additionally for the week or so that we were in that area or could hear radio chatter about that area the winds kept switching between north and south. This doesn't allow the ice to clear out it just blows it one way and then back the other way. Often piling it up tighter.

In any case, we had looked at ice imagery before we left and gotten a few reports thereafter. It all looked good at that point, and we went into week 2 assuming that ice would be similar to last year and that there would be some ice to move around while going south, but it would be doable.

On Tuesday we enjoyed a relaxed day with a dinghy explore around Pleneau. We went gentoo penguin watching and picture taking. We also saw the contrails of a British plane that we heard talking to Lockroy and HMS Protector. They were hoping to do fly overs but there was a good bit of cloud cover. We just happened to have a clear bit of sky over Pleneau and could see the contrails - pretty cool! We also walked ashore a bit and saw some weddell and crabeater seals. They haul out and really climb up to some high places. They also just flop out of the water on ice floes and bergy bits. We don't talk about the seals much, but they are interesting too. (Daxton really, really wants to see elephant seals, but it isn't looking good this year either.) We hung out, worked on last week's blog post, the kids did some schoolwork and we played games.

Wednesday we planned to try to go south based on the weather forecast. We woke up early as we hoped to go about 50nm south. It was a beautiful day, sunny and clear, so off we went. The trip started off fine. We made ok speed and picking through the ice was straight forward. Until it wasn't. The ice got rather thick. Lots of floes that weren't fully broken up that we pushed around to get through. Very doable but slow and a bit tiring.

After a couple of hours, it was starting to look like we might be back in Pleneau that night. We decided we would keep pushing and see what we found. We hoped to make it to the Yalour Islands which have adelie penguins. We were able to get there but the spot where we day anchored last year had lots of ice piled in it. So we decided to keep one person on the boat while the others took a little shore excursion. Jon took the boys while Megan stayed on the boat. Megan settled against an ice floe, essentially parking alongside a pile of ice. Jon and the boys got ashore and watched the adelies for a bit. Then Jon came back and Megan went with the boys for a dinghy explore to see more adelies. It was a nice stop.

As we left the Yalours, we tried to continue south and it looked promising. Then we realized we had to get out around a couple of larger icebergs. After that we found ourselves unable to continue moving forward. So we marked 65 14.5S as our farthest point south for the year with a picture, nearly as far as our anchorage in Vernadsky last year (65 15.0S). We were able to turn around eventually and then pretty easily went back out the way we came. We discussed trying to get into Vernadsky but it didn't seem especially promising from the east. Maybe if we went out and came in from the west. But we decided we would just head back to Pleneau and try to stop on Petermann Island for an outing on the way back north.

The stop at Petermann worked out well. We dropped the anchor but the bay seemed to be a sheet of rock and the anchor wasn't grabbing so Jon stayed with the boat while Megan and the boys went ashore where they saw more gentoos and adelies. The wind shifted while they were up by the adelie colony so it was good that Jon was aboard and the crew all scurried back down the hill and back aboard Zephyros.

By now it was about 3pm or so which was when the winds were supposed to pick up. This meant that we headed back to Pleneau against some head winds and the beautiful sunny weather was gone. It wasn't far but it took a little while between the ice and the head winds. We were happy to be drop anchor back in Pleneau. It was another great, interesting, exhausting Antarctica day.

All that ice also started a new challenge as we lost the ability to get water from our faucets for awhile. Our water pump stopped working and our foot pump worked for awhile then stopped and then worked again. By that evening we had it all working again and were wondering if we froze a water line in all the ice or if our water pump had died. We were basically sitting in a very icy, sub-freezing drink for most of the day, so ice in the line seemed possible even though we hadn't had the problem last year with a colder boat.

Thursday morning saw the water pump quit again. It just wasn't bringing the water line up to pressure. And our foot pump wasn't working again either. So we set to investigating. Our boat is warm this year and the bilges are cold but not freezing. The outside water temp is just below freezing. We couldn't find any hose sitting right against the hull and sent Daxton (as the smallest crew member) down to also look. He didn't find anything either. So we left the bilges open and turned up the heater. Jon also set to work on rebuilding the old water pump. We had replaced the pump once with a swap out and ordered parts to repair the worn out parts from the first pump. Well, rebuild the old pump just moved up in priority on the (never complete) "to do" list. By mid-day, the water system was magically working fine again. Best we can figure is that a piece of water line froze where it was against a frame.

Thursday we stayed busy aboard between the pump and other tasks. We enjoyed a late breakfast of pancakes. We had also been invited to Sea Wind for dinner so we baked brownies in the afternoon to take over for dessert. Then before dinner we took a hike up Hovgaard Island. (Sea Wind had also gone out in the ice for a bit on Wednesday and returned to Pleneau too but they anchored in the slot between Hovgaard and Florence Islands this time not back next to us.) So, as we were headed over that way for dinner, we took advantage and enjoyed a lovely pre-dinner walk on Hovgaard. It is a neat area with great views and an old depot stash with artifacts. The Pleneau/Hovgaard area is also a place where a couple of sailboats have over wintered. So it is interesting to imagine what that would be like and what supplies would be necessary, completely iced in on a small sailboat with short day light hours…

The weather showed that it was supposed to blow a bit on Saturday so we started planning for where we wanted to be for that weather. We felt ready to leave Pleneau and since other boats weren't being very successful in getting south via the inside passages either, we decided we would just move a little north. We planned to go to Paradise Harbour on Friday and if the Saturday blow happened to clear all the ice then we could always come back south.

So Friday we headed north instead of south. There was still a lot of ice around Pleneau and Port Charcot, and we picked our way through it. At one point we found ourselves locked in and it took us awhile to extract ourselves even though we could see clear water very close to us. We patiently kept at it and got free. Things cleared up north of Port Charcot. There was still a lot of ice, but not all packed in anymore so we picked up speed and the skies cleared up. We had a nice motor up to Paradise Harbour and marveled at the amazing vistas Antarctica shares on those clear, blue sky days (which are rare).

After dropping anchor and getting settled the parents left the kids and went out looking for whales in the dinghy. Daxton played on deck in the good weather and Ronan read. We had a nice little adventure and checked out the Argentinian base - Brown. We only saw one whale and just for a few breaths and far away. He quickly disappeared, apparently not a curious one.

We stayed in Paradise for 3 nights. It is so nice and calm there. And breathtakingly beautiful. Glaciers, mountains. Wow. Saturday, Jon and the boys headed out for a dinghy explore. Then the outboard quit working. And the wind picked up. Daxton rowed the dinghy back (not a bad way to expend his excess energy!) and then the wind died again. It seems we were having a problem with the external fuel tank for the dinghy motor. It seems like we solved a problem like this last year in the same spot. Last time it was the fuel hose falling apart on the inside and clogging the flow of fuel. Anyway, getting stranded motivated Jon to work on it as it hadn't been working perfectly for a few days. Seems it was the result of wear to the fuel line plug that attaches to the engine. After that the boys had lost interest in the dinghy excursion, but we rallied Daxton and Megan came along with Jon this time. We went out looking for whales but didn't see any. We did find that the yacht Legend has a submarine and they were out with it. We checked out what they were doing from a distance and went around to see Brown again. There were a bunch of people from Legend at Brown to do the hike up the cliff / hill behind the station. We drove by as they were at the top for their photos. Interesting to see what everyone was up to.

On the way back to Zephyros we decided we should put our feet ashore on the Peninsula again this year. The tide was quite low and we could get a shot with the boat in the anchorage and Daxton ashore. So we did that and he spotted a screw in a rock. This prompted a discussion about why it was there. Then he found more and more screws - but loose, on the rocks and in the water. The tide was really low and apparently whoever put that screw in accidentally knocked over / lost about a dozen screws and a serious mallet—a smallish sledge hammer. Now there was a project to recover these objects! The recovery of the sledge turned into another great way to expend Daxton energy. Put him on a piece of ice and let him hammer away. He enjoyed the banging and playing Thor.

Sunday was a very quiet day. Cards and school work. Megan made na'an and we had a curry night. It was a nice down day. And the weather was pretty overcast. We skipped the dinghy excursion and just marveled out our windows some more.

The weather showed Monday and Tuesday to be settled and the chance for some wind on Wednesday. With boats still struggling to get to Vernadsky and not getting further south, we decided to move 20nm north to Cuverville on Monday and plan to move again Tuesday to tuck in for the upcoming potential wind on Wednesday. We moved well and Nike has continued to work fine. We definitely enjoy having her back! At least when we aren't having to hand steer through a lot of ice.

We tried to anchor on the north side of Cuverville but found there was too much ice along the shore there that would come off with the tide / wind and would make landing the dinghy extremely difficult, so we went back around to the south. There were some big pieces of ice around but not as many as on the north side. The sun even came out once we anchored so we organized ourselves for a shore trip. We had a nice little shore excursion and enjoyed watching the gentoo penguins. They are still building nests and fighting over the little rocks that they use to make those nests. We saw some eggs, some young babies and some molting penguins. We have seen bigger babies down in Lockroy and Pleneau so we were surprised to still see eggs and tiny babies to the north. They are always very entertaining to watch.

Thankfully the weather was indeed settled and calm as forecast. This is good when you are sleeping with a good deal of ice around. Some pieces came by to visit, but nothing threatened to pin us to our spot. So we closed out week 2 with a good night's sleep ready to continue exploring in week 3.