The price of fish
February 23, 2013
Fava beans and a nice chianti…
February 27, 2013

Wild thing

SSC_0918 Tuesday (pretty early) – it is now shortly before the time I was scheduled to be home in London as a returning hero.  Instead I am still in the South Shetland Islands outside a Chilean Airforce Base at Frei Station waiting for the weather to lift so the plane can get in and pick us up.  Whilst most people are phlegmatic about the delay there are still some who have a loud and tiresome sense of humour failure in the direction of anyone who will listen.

I also learn (through calling home) that Sir Ranulph Fiennes has had to drop out of his Trans-Antarctic crossing due to injuries received in training.

I feel bad for Sir Ranulph as I also feel frustrated that  this delay is preventing me from being with my family (really missing you guys) .  However it underlines the fact that Antarctica is not a regular destination.  In a world where we live by schedules, demand certainties and have an unshakable belief that if something goes wrong there must be someone you can sue, we are surprised and rattled when the wilderness turns around and bites us in the backside.  I have a feeling that this is good for us.

So now we have a choice.  Our boat is unable to wait here any longer and we are given two options:

1. We can disembark to Frei base – a spartan research station on a plot of land resembling Mars where the height of luxury is a working toilet with a seat.  Here we will sleep on the floor in dormitories and eat potatoes until the weather clears and we can catch our flight to freedom.  This entails an indefinite wait which could be five hours or five days.


2. We can stay on the boat and cross the Drake Passage to Ushuaia in southern Argentina where we can arrange onward flights.  This assures us the relative luxury of a car ferry but will take two days to cross mountainous seas in 50 knot winds with a cast iron guarantee of sequential wall to wall vomiting.

So that’s my choice – and it’s not an easy one.  If anyone has any ideas, thoughts or advice I would welcome them.  Either way it will be a cracking adventure.

Get well soon Sir Ranulph.


  1. Carol says:

    Your whole trip was organised around avoiding Crossing Drake’s passage by sea! Disembark and deeply accept the unknown duration of your stay in the freezer.
    If you choose the boat, I hope you didn’t leave your remedy kit with your underwear x

  2. Chris Solomou says:

    Man up dude! Conquer your motion sickness and go on another sea adventure..! I would…
    All the best, Chris

  3. Katie says:

    Daddy! I know you get terribly sea sick, but at least there are beds on the boat! Sleeping on the floor to me sounds like a bad idea!!!!!

  4. Les Palmer says:

    I suggest you insist that they hold the boat while you undertake a full blown assessment of the risks, assumptions, issues and dependencies associated with each option, by which time the weather should have cleared and you’ll be free to proceed!

  5. Sander says:

    Take the boat, take the pills and take on the waves!

  6. Jackie says:

    Nigel says if you stay he can send you lots of potatoe recipes. I say get on the boat. Sounds like it could be the quickest way home. Xxx

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