Leaving Half Moon Island to prepare for our trip back to civilization had been a less traumatic experience than expected. Perhaps the gorgeous weather and stunning scenery had helped ease the pain, but I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I was leaving in peace, having gained the knowledge and understanding of Antarctica that I had come to seek.
Back onboard, seasick bags popped up ominously around the ship again and we all pulled out our survival tools of choice (read: seasick pills and ear patches). The forecast for the Drake crossing was not good: 36 knots and big swells. And to think the 10-12 knots we had on the way to Antarctica was bad. Due to unfavourable conditions in the Gerlache Strait, Captain Karavaev opted to take us through the English Channel instead.
We gathered in the Main Lounge for a briefing, but soon we hit open sea and the waves began to do their work. The ship pitched forward and rolled sideways, and the up/down motion in particular created the surreal sensation that one was being forced to go on the freefall ride over and over again at the amusement park. (Except in this case there was no screaming for fear of legitimately losing your dinner if you tried to so much as open your mouth.)
That night, trying to get some shut eye yielded some interesting results. The ship was rolling so heavily by now that, even lying flat on my back, my whole body would shift up and down a few inches every now and then.
This is one of those times you just wish life had a Fast Forward button.