Paying the “Drake Tax”

Monday, February 2, 2015

There’s a saying about the Drake Passage: there are three ways to make the crossing: you can sail on the Drake Lake; you can be thrown around in the Drake Shake; or you can pay the Drake Tax! After it looked like we were in for a shaking, given the weather report the first night, although there was some rocking and rolling the first night, we awoke to somewhat calmer waters than we expected. Still, despite anti-sea sick pills and sea sick patches, a large number of our fellow passengers were down for the count.

However, thanks to taking our Bonine (we love you for the recommendation, John Rudek), we awoke fully functional, and ready to face the day. Our cabin is on the third deck, and before we set off last night, the cabin steward moved all our deck furniture into our cabin. We went down to breakfast on Deck 2, and occasionally waves would completely cover the windows while we were eating.

On this first full day at sea we had a number of compulsory briefings. We had the life boat drill, the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators briefing (i.e. How to behave in the Antarctic) and the how to get in and out of the zodiac briefing. The later was especially important as the only way we get on and off of our ship during the cruise is by inflatable zodiac boats.

We also had voluntary briefings by our 11 person naturalist staff. They ranged from biologists to geophysical scientists to botanists. We had a very well qualified group to lead us. Today we had a lecture on penguins.

The Drake passage crossing usually takes a full two days. We battened down the hatches and got ready for a rough ride.

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