My days just seem to be melting away one by one, much like the icebergs we are quickly leaving behind. We are now heading back to The Falklands where we will be stopping for only two or three days to pick up some different scientific researchers before setting sail for Tristan Da Cunha. Our time in the ice was amazing but I am really looking forward to feeling the heat on my skin again, I haven’t had my whole body immersed in sunlight since September last year and I can’t wait to just shut my eyes and absorb all the health and happiness that comes from sunshine (whilst wearing sun protection of course!). I’ve been away from home for three weeks now and it has really flown by. I haven’t really allowed myself to think of home, my flat in London, my friends or my family because it’s just an unnecessary anxiety trigger that I’d rather not pull… homesickness is a difficult affliction to cure so I’d prefer not to catch it. By temporarily eliminating everything from your real life and fully immersing yourself in your current situation you are fully committing to something. By yearning for your home life when there’s no way of living it you’re causing yourself extra stress and isolating yourself from everyone else on board, leaving you in a lonely little corner where the only person suffering is you. This is definitely the most social boat I’ve ever been on; there are movie nights, quiz nights, game nights… hell we even all learnt to make friendship bracelets the other day over tea and biscuits! It’s like summer camp but without the freedom to run around and there’s no Lindsay Lohan to play poker with.
I’m trying my hardest not to torture myself with visions of picnics in the sun with my dad and walks with my mum and just remember that nothing lasts forever and that if I were home I’d be doing nothing but freezing to death in my little flat in miserable London, waiting for something or someone interesting to walk into my life. But instead, I am sailing to and from amazing places with lovely people and making money that will enable me to travel more of the world and enjoy my summer properly. It’s easy to spend every day in bed in your cabin just watching movies or TV series, eating food and doing sweet sod all- but like everything it becomes tedious and no amount of workouts in the gym or walks on the treadmill can quench your restlessness; yesterday however was little slice of heaven. The sun was shining and although it was still really cold I could feel the heat warming my cheeks and eyelids. I found a little secluded spot where I could listen to my music and shut my eyes but after just five minutes I heard my name being called from above. I looked up and just managed to catch the world ‘Whales!’ escaping one of the scientists’ lips before he disappeared again. I scrambled up the stairs and up onto monkey island, the very tip top of the ship, where an excited gaggle had congregated, all pointing and watching. I found a spot in the sun and looked out over the ocean just in time to catch a very distant spray of mist shoot up into the air. A blow!
There were many more whale-less blows and although it’s nice to see after a while I headed back to my little spot where again just five minutes later I was called back up- but this time it was worth it. Still quite a long way out but nowhere near as far was a stirring in the waves, a couple of blows and…. and a fin!! A big, silky, black back and fin surfaced for just a second before it dived back down into the choppy waters. Not the picture perfect whale moment I’m so desperately hoping for, but a whale is a whale none the less and I’m just happy knowing they’re nearby. Also, I am reading Moby Dick…in the words of Chandler, could I BE anymore sailor? Apparently it was a Fin whale and there were a couple of them, just beautiful. I’ve seen a fair few dolphins during previous trips to sea but never any whales so I’m pretty happy with my lot.
I am reading Lonely Planet’s ‘Best In Travel 2018’ guide at the moment, a Christmas pressie from my flatemate. It’s gotten me all excited for the coming year and with this stint of work out of the way I’ll have the time and money to go anywhere in the world. Although I am super tempted by a few different places, Chile, Columbia, Bolivia, New Zealand… I am leaning towards a big trip across Europe, for a few reasons really: 1) I’d have been away for a while and although I am keen to travel it’ll be nice to be closer to home in case I want to pop back for any reason or just want to stop and settle for a bit. Another reason is I want to do some volunteering in various places and due to recent ‘political events’ I’m not sure how easy this will be in the future… so basically I’m getting it done before shit hits the fan. I want to take an alternative route, not just your usual Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Rome etc. I want to mix it up and visit a few places that are less trodden and discover some real hidden beauty. If anyone has any good ideas let me know!