Boarding the boat

Hello All,

We are 22hours into our journey through the Drakes Passage and onto Antarctica = woooohooo. I had a moment of realisation as I boarded the boat yesterday afternoon and thought to myself I am incredibly lucky to be able to embark on this challenge at the age of 26.

We took off at 6pm last night and spent the first couple of hours getting settled into our cabins. I have been paired up with Ricky Paugh (good friend throughout this whole Grandslam experience) and we have been placed on the lower level of the boat. There are positives and disadvantages in being near the bottom of the boat. The disadvantages is that our room is relatively small and we only have a tiny window. This is in contrast to the huge windows and big rooms of those on the level above us. However, the biggest advantage in being at the bottom of the boat is we are less likely to battle with sea sickness. We also had the nice company of Ryan Sandes and Dean Leslie as our neighbours.

The boat itself is rather amazing and it has a fantastic dining area, sauna, gym, library and seminar room. After we checked into the room we had a safety check of the life jackets and zodiac boats. I feel very far removed from the tent and sand setting of Sahara as we toasted the beginning of the journey with pisco sours, red wine and other alcoholic beverages (I opted for the orange and mango juice option). This was followed with food being served on silver platters, hahaha very la di da. Last night really felt like a whirl wind and by the end of the night my brain and body were about to combust with excitement and exhaustion. We all met in the lush dining room at 10pm for dinner. The entree was a couscous, salmon and avocado dish and gnocchi as a main. As I stumbled to my cabin at 11:30pm I crawled into bed and was out within three minutes.

The boat ride so far has been moderately calm and smooth sailing. That being said the boat is still rocking side to side and everyone is knocking into the walls. Ricky and I went to breakfast around 8pm and we looked rather drunk and dozey as we struggled to get our balance. A few chairs have fallen over and my fingers are crossed that I wont be too bruised up before we start racing.

We just received word that we may make our first destination by the end of tomorrow, which is ahead of schedule and apparently a very quick crossing. This means we should be starting the race the following morning. Little has been said on the stage distances, times or equipment required in our race packs. All that we do know is that the first stage is likely to be 100miles or close to- which is something I am quite scared about. Having never run anything more than 105kms in one stage this distance will be very much the unknown for me. In addition I will have new gear and cold conditions to contend with as well.

The sea sick patches have also taken their toll on most of the competitors and everyone is incredibly sleepy. Many people are in their cabins at the moment having some shut eye before dinner. Another side effect of the patches is constantly having a dry mouth,. It is imperative to keep hydrated and I have probably gone through a few liters of water today. As we had lunch today the rocking of the ship (which is felt the worst in the dining area) made me feel quite nauseas. Ryan and Dean also started to look a little pale and we all headed down stairs as soon as we finished eating. I decided to have a shower which was quite the experience, I was holding onto a metal bar for dear life as I was quite nervous of falling over. I felt like a new women after the shower and my stomach has now settled down.

The staff on the boat and lovely and have been offering seminars on the bird life and whales we are likely to see. They are also showing a few documentaries so the time is flying by. I am quite eager to start racing but I am happy I have a few days to shake off the jetlag and the craziness of my transit to Ushuaia. Going to have a cup of tea and a nananap now.


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