January 24, 2003

Chile flagUp early today again, this time for the Pia Glacier. We had already passed several other glaciers in the early hours of the morning, but the Pia Glacier was different because it came right down to the water. The mountains and other ice fields around it were very spectacular, and we were lucky enough to get photographs of it in partial sun.

We travelled in Zodiacs to a point close to the glacier’s snout. We could hear frequent cracks and pops, and saw small pieces fall into the water. But as before, there were no major calving events. By the end of the trip the rain had started to come down quite heavily, so the cup of hot chocolate before returning to the ship was very welcome.

After breakfast we headed up to the top deck to admire the high Darwin Cordillera mountains that we hadn’t seen on the way down. For about 45 minutes the sun shone, so we had a lovely time admiring the views. But looking up the Canal Beagle we could see that we were heading into rain, and sure enough, it started to rain continuously and the wind started to blow strongly as the ship motored into the storm.

Once again we decided to take a nap after lunch. Late in the afternoon we awoke, and went up to the forward lounge to see a talk about the Magellan Strait. By this time the ship was really being tossed about; the waves were large enough that they crashed over the bow of the ship and washed over the windows of the lounge, which was on the third deck. The winds outside had been measured at 70 knots.

Before long Paul had to abandon the lounge and go outside to get some fresh air. And shortly after that, Rosemary left too, and the two of us went up onto the top deck to watch the storm. However, by dinnertime the ship was back in Canal Cockburn and the waves had subsided to their customary size.

Tonight’s dinner was the last we would be eating on board, so it was a “dress up if you like” affair. We put on our poor approximation of dressing up—in Paul’s case, a shirt with a collar. Pork and applesauce was on the menu, and it was very good. Dessert was also very good, a crepe with Grand Marnier sauce.

We heard that the ship would be running into more rough weather on the way to Isla Magdalena, so we took some Gravol before going to bed.

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