Beyond the comfortzone

IMG_8371Emergency drill - we also have our personal drysuits stored under our berths. I have a card in my studio that reads: Life begins outside of your comfort zone. It's a familiar sentiment and holds true for most days of my life. Today it's taking on a new and very literal dimension. Leaving the comfort of terra firma and stepping on this ship to sail across the Drake to Antarctica makes me realize that, even in an unfamiliar country on the opposite side of the globe I feel comfortable and inspired. Stepping on a boat of any size is a whole other story. It evokes memories from my early childhood years. Spending summer weekends on a small dinghy sailboat trapped in a bulky lifejacket and tucked into a small storage space at the bow, a space just big enough to hold my 2- or 3 year old self curled up next to the spare jib sail, didn't exactly teach me to associate sailing with a sense of freedom. The exhilarating experience my young parents enjoyed while heeling in shifty mountain lake winds translated to me as pure terror and lack of any control.

In retrospect it doesn't surprise me that I choose to experience the Drake crossing tucked in safely in my berth and yielding into the motion of the waves, half sleeping half meditating. Only this time I didn't need to dissociate my thoughts from the experience. I absorbed it fully. Wanting to witness how my body reacted to the unstable ground and sensory disconnects between my vestibular and my visual input, I embraced the opportunity for self study. What happens when I stand up? Where is the onset of seasickness? Or can I think it away and completely relax into it? I fell in love with the rocking motion and felt relaxed and at ease as long as I was laying down and staid completely present with the motion.

We sailed in moderate Drake conditions. Wind speeds of 50 knots isn't a big deal for this part of the world. At home, on Lake champlain most boats don't leave their mooring when it blows 25 knots or more. Context does matter - as always.

We stepped on the boat on Sunday evening, sailed through the Beagle Channel during dinner and were rocked to sleep by the first Drake waves. After 40+ hours of rocking, on Tuesday late afternoon, we saw this:

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IMG_8575 (1)Time to get on to our feet , leave our cabin and smell the Antarctic air. We are here - the place that doesn't exist on most maps and holds the pencil sharpener on my little pencil sharpening globe. It's real!!!

IMG_8576 (1)Icebergs super sized - and this is just the beginning!