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Greetings from the confines of bunk 7B

Greetings from the confines of bunk 7B.

I have taken refuge here, within these three walls, a ceiling of slats, a mattress to rest on and a row of curtains shielding me from the elements beyond.

It is here where I’ve succumbed to the mighty motion of the ocean, where I wish away the waves in a self-imposed cocoon.

With eyes firmly shut, I steady myself, soothing the nausea and suppressing the urge to empty the contents of my stomach.

The hours and days pass by as I drift in and out of sleep in some dreamlike trance.

My only companions are an array of questionable seasickness remedies, a scattering of clothing I’ve been too ill or too lazy to put away, and a collection of random objects that have tumbled into my bunk from the adjacent desk.

As waves carry the boat, my body sways from side to side in sync with it, sometimes with a force strong enough to hurtle me against the wall. I now wedge myself into a corner, clinging on as I brace for the next gust of wind.

My sleep is light and therefore the simplest of sounds can awaken me from slumber - the flush of a toilet, the clanging of pans in the galley, the shuffle of a passerby’s one-too-many layers of clothing.

These are accompanied by a symphony of sounds I am now all too familiar with. The rumblings from the motor keep the rhythm, the swooshes of water as they rush by provide the melody, and the creeks from the bunk above crescendo as the waves hit harder.

I gauge the passing of time from the three bells that round up the voyage crew for the nightly 8 O’Clocky and alarms I have set to signal my next dose of Gravol.

What I look forward to most is the call for dinner time when a queue forms from the galley and sneaks past my cabin down the hallway. It’s here where I catch glimpses of life beyond my bunk - pleasantries being exchanged, a joke or two followed by a chuckle, lighthearted chatter discussing the day’s events.

There is a comfort that comes with this monotonous routine. Half awake and half asleep, I have a lot of time to think and to reflect.

I wish I could tell you I am engrossed in some deeply profound topic. But with full transparency, what flows in and out of my brain is anything but.

From smells that waft in from the galley, I play a guessing game of what the next meal might be. I also continue to add to a mental checklist of things I need to Google once I regain access to internet. And what comes up most often is why a person so sensitive to seasickness would subject themselves to the roughest passage of them all.

Well, what have I concluded? Is it all worth it in the end?

Without a doubt, it absolutely is.

The nauseating, vomit-inducing, dizzying spells of nine days with the Drake shake are all eclipsed by the glory that is Antarctica. Pristinely raw and epically awe-inspiring, it certainly does live up to its storied reputation, captivating the hearts and minds of many an explorer.

I wonder whether I could muster up the courage to do it all again sometime. It’s probably too soon to say at this point. No matter the outcome, there would be no shame in declaring this truly a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

— Jennifer Xu, Bark Europa, 3/4/23

Geschreven door:
Jennifer Xu | Voyage Crew

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