Early Monday morning found Xplore buffeted by stronger than expected winds from the north whipping up the sea and driving the swell, small bergs and brash into the cove in which we are moored. By dawn the entrance to the cove is blocked with stranded icebergs. To add to our concerns at about 8 am one of the stern lines holding us straight on to the wind and waves fails as the incoming ice lifts the line away from rock fixing. The ship swings round and is in danger of being driven ashore. All the crew spring into action: two in the Zodiac to re-attach the rock strop holding the rope to Xplore, whilst on board we winch in the line and keep her off the closing rocks. At one point we touch the sea floor but fortunately there is no damage. After a long, cold struggle we are safely moored again.The work is not over: Stephen and Debbi spend much of the morning fending incoming ice and brash away from the rudder.
With the turn of tide and the long awaited veer in the wind to the south as the depression giving us our weather, including a barometric pressure reading of 962, finally arrives, ice begins to leave the cove. Our anxiety diminishes but does not go away. At the entrance of the cove the big bergs remained firmly grounded, blocking our exit. At least one of the bergs must shake itself free for Xplore to be able escape to the open sea… Tonight the wind is in the south, so the signs are better. We hope to head north again on Wednesday. Meanwhile we will be climbing the ridges of Booth Island and exploring Port Charcot, whose residents include Gentoo Penguins, Leopard and Fur seals, skuas and Antarctic Terns and for a few days the crew of Xplore.