June 10, 2009
Last night, the seas calmed for a short while I was falling asleep so I was surprised to find more rocking and rolling when I awoke at 7 a.m. We had to be getting closer to the protection of the Cape, I thought. I made it up to the bridge after breakfast and found out the culprit. A head wind of about 40 knots! That explained the different motion of the ship from yesterday - instead of from side to side because of the westerly winds in Drake's we were fighting a wind head on that was causing us to rise up and crash down with each wave. At least the gusts were not in the 60-knot range and the wave size had dropped to about 10-15 feet from yesterday. By this afternoon everyone was starting to arise from their motion drug induced stupors and the sunlight streaming in on the bridge was a welcome sight to all. At about 4 p.m. we even saw the first Punta Arenas (same name, different town) and the first visible land of the South American Continent! This was definitely exciting, as everyone could start to think about returning to civilization and home. There was even a list that started on the white board entitled, "It is going to be weird to...." that was completed with funny statements like, "not wear long underwear, drive a car, encounter locked doors (as we have not had to deal with locked doors and keys this whole time!), eat fresh, summer veggies, stop at red lights, see buildings, explain to others what we have been doing for the past two months, and talk to other people than the same 50 we have been around!" We all got a kick out of this little activity because it truly is going to be an adjustment after being gone for so long! I think the heat and humidity of Coastal Alabama are definitely going to present my biggest adjustment!
At 5 p.m. several of us went up to the bridge for a very bizarre (to us) occurrence of the sun setting so late in the day! The colors were spectacular, the winds were starting to subside, but every now and then the blasts of saltwater spray were still slamming the windows on the bridge to make us feel like we were going through an enormous carwash rinse cycle!
At dinner we celebrated Jeff Grim's Birthday with a gingerbread cake made by Lisa with gibbies in icing. After dinner, we celebrated the end of the cruise with some videos that Alison and Elliott put together from the best of the photographs that were taken over the last two months. The music chosen was just hilarious - the theme song from "The A-Team" and "Gone Fishing" were great. The videos definitely highlighted the research, the work, the science, the scenery, the fun and the friends that we have gained over the past two months. What a fantastic wrap up of everything!