Leo 2° (July 24)

Day Two – Tracey Arm

I woke at four but didn’t dare budge from the room that early, even though it was already full daylight. We are having just about four hours of darkness per night seems like. It would turn out to be quite an eventful day which began with me on the upper deck, wrapped in a cashmere blacket, at five a.m. It was really too cold so I came down and started writing and doing a bit of fundraising and awaited breakfast, buffeted by an Americano, once Cleo, the morning stewardess, emerged. As determined as I was to just have fruit I had to go for the fresh waffles on offer with what I believe was orange-infused ricotta. Two more Americanos and a bit more work as we made our way up to the glacier.

By 9 o’clock, I believe, we had smoothed our way through the calm silky water to where we wanted to be: faced with a giant wall of ice straight out of “Game of Thrones”. There were loud moaning sounds coming from the glacier at first but no visual accompaniment. And so Neil in one and Jill and Flow in another set out in kayaks to skirt the glacier closer up; and inspired by Jo who arrived on deck in a terrycloth bathrobe, we ducked below decks to become similarly attired, all stripping off to our swimsuits and slipping into the hottub. Before S. and I did that, newly arrived back on the upper deck, Jo was in a bit of a flurry because a huge chunk of glacier had broken off and made a giant splash and the subsequent waves that rocked the big boat and therefore most certainly the kayaks which were microscopic in comparison and way closer to the setpiece of G.O.T..

While still in what was an aptly named hot tub, the temperature of which did ultimately send me out first, resulting from strange sensations from it in my arms, one of which is already comprimised from some kind of pinched nerve, Neil returned from his marine adventure really shooken up, heart pounding. I don’t really know and forgot to ask if indeed they were wearing life vests, the three of them, but anyway, the sheets of ice falling off the glacier, an occurance which had now become regular, created mini tsunamis and they really struggled, phyisically and psychologically, not to tip over. I have still never tried kayaking and I’m very happy that I rethought my original impetus to make a virgin voyage in one this morning.

Lunch was a Mexican fiesta of pork tacos and fish tacos and quinoa salad and another one which was a medley of sweet corn, black beans and cherry tomatoes followed by a sort of team of coconut mexican cookies in a yoghurt sorbet. And there were tiny bottles of Patron tequila placed at our plates with a side of salt and limes. I think only one of us had their entire nip, I had about half and thus took an afternoon nap; but not before playing MarioKart, my first lousy but comical attempt at a video game, and a competitive one at that. The appeal for me was choosing my character and my vehicle both of which were very cute; but I do not know how to work the tiny joystick device with multiple ancillary buttons they provide you. And David, a cheeky fifteen, followed up each game with “highlights” of my (not everyone’s, mind you) race, sometimes in slow motion, showing my cute character veering all over the road in a manic manner.

The nap lasted about an hour with Streetcar Named Desire playing low behind the veil of slumber. Then it was time for afternoon tea—we are eating again already?—featuring a rhubarb cake. And it was off in one of the tenders to try and find some whales with an axe to chip off some ice from a berg for cocktails. This would prove a very bad idea indeed. We didn’t see any whales on our rather long journey out of site of the boat. (I learned later that a few of us—we were only six in our party plus the crew member driving—were thinking this seems a bit dicey, being so far out of site of the boat, without any life vests, given the fact we might sneak up on whales; this was an instinct that would be justified, however not in light of the whales but in respect to the unsuspecting iceberg we were seeking to hack with an axe.

We came along side a rather big blue one which was beautiful but it didn’t allow one to reach it with outstretched axe-wielding arm which specifically belonged to the fifteen-year-old David. So we set our sites on a “tiny one” which was roughly the size of a large refridgerator; or at least the proverbial tip was, emerging from the grey-green sea. David was poised on the bow like a cartoon masthead; but before he could even graze it the bow of the boat struck the submerged majority of the berg which resulted in the following scene: Suddenly the managable fridge-sized block of ice rose up to a great height before us, like some Norsegod come to life, or as if the iceberg was on some kind of underwater elevator, growing to a height four, five times its height—what was actually happening was that the boat’s bump into it had caused the iceberg to flip back from us, the refridgerator submerging and giving way to what had been the enormous submerged side increasingly towering, in the kind of slow-motion reserved for near or perhaps full-on catastrophes, bumping in the boat back in seeming retaliation, crunching into the bow and bending the metal ladder attached to it. In that eternity of a moment we were all silent, expectant, frozen and utterly and helplessly awaiting our fate which we have thought would be a proper capsizing into the freezing drink. We came through it muttering things like “oh my god” and “holy shit” and “that was close” and “wow, wow, wow.” And then we set off to see if we could find some whales, which we did.

There seemed to be a humpback whale on its own, or maybe it was calving, or something of that nature; because a small distance from said whale was at least one, maybe two, orcas or killer whales which are quite a different animal. And it was like dualing marine mammals where the humback would creat a flurry of activity, slapping the water with her flukes, and then the orca(s) would bubble up and spout and make some separate kind of commotion. It was very strange and we didn’t quite now what was what. We later learned that orcas are predators with proper teeth who will hunt other marine mammals, seals, mainly, but also newborn calves of other “real” whales which aren’t predators but gentle krill-eating giants with giant brushes instead of teeth that filter in mass quantitie of smaller aquatic life as sustenance. And as we watched this random, avant-garde whale choreagraphy I know that the bulk of our brains were still processing the David versus Goliath iceberg that had moments before played out.

We did have cocktails that night with an hors d’oeuvres of a fresh tuna paté spread on cucumbers, which was followed by a delicious dinner of seabass and garlic potatoes and a good deal of delicious Pouilly Fumé. People were drinking a bit more than usual and we played Cards Against Humanity conversationally puncutated by details of the ice incident, thoughts and impressions and admonitions of true terror. All of which resulted in “new rules” that entail: always wearing life vests when out on the tender and always being within sight of the boat itself when out and about on the smaller vessels. This is a good thing.


To view the original Sabian Symbol themed 2015 Blague corresponding to this day: Flashback! The degree of the Sabian Symbol may be higher than the one listed here  as the symbols culminate in the next degree. There are 360  degrees spread over 365 days. 


Typos happen—I don’t have time or an intern to edit.*
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