A freezing cold night left behind frosty decks and stiff ropes as the mist froze over everything it touched. Then the fog lifts; the snow falls.
For a while before the decks, ropes, and rig get covered under a white blanket of snow, a couple of gorgeous Light-mantled albatrosses synchronize their elegant gliding flight around the ship. They didn’t show up alone, a handful of their relatives the Black-browed showed up as well. Southern fulmars join small flocks of Cape petrels while a beautiful and quite rare white-morph of a Giant petrel pays us a short visit too.
On deck we brace around sharp, now for the first time in days we pull them tight on Port Tack as the light wind gradually picks up from a southerly direction.
Snow showers pass by, the wind turns to a cold but light Southerly and the weather stays grey and cloudy. But, wait a second, at our port side there’s a glow at the horizon. A long stripe of lighter skies under the dark overcast sky.
The first piece broken off the even larger tabular iceberg A23 from the collapsing Larsen Ice Shelve is close by. The lower part of the sky brightens from the light reflected by its large flat surface. A23A, square-shaped measures about 45nm per side.
At a good distance of about 4nm from it, for a few hours, we follow its 30-meter-high ice wall that shows above the sea level. First on a westerly course and then turning to the south around the iceberg corner.
At this point, the wind shifts, and an increasingly fair Northwesterly starts blowing. We set sail!
Soon frozen gaskets are taken off the frozen canvas, and cold hands pull stiff ropes. Topsails and courses join the few staysails and jibs set, engines now are off and the Europa sails straight into the Weddell Sea.