day 10 - Exercise turned into: This is Not an Exercise  : (  : (

track: Pléneau Island, Lemaire Channel & Neumayer Channel

notes by the Oceanwide expedition team from
the Ortelius official logbook

Date:                         23.03.2018

Position:                    65°09.2’S, 064°25.6’W

Wind:                         N 6

Weather:                   cloudy

Air Temperature:      +3

Highlights of the day

  • Waking up to a mess – the chair tripped over and all little things of the desk were all over the floor. Indeed, it has been a Rock& Roll night – but funny enough, one gets used to it (and with some help of the seasickness patches). Since we did not fall out of our beds, we are fit to go outside as, YAY! the outer decks are open again. 

  • Sunny Pléneau Island
    Lucky enough, the wind and sea calmed down enough for a zodiac excursion to Pléneau Island. When we headed over, the sun broke through to the clouds. Giving us the best light possible to admire the wonderful bay, hills and ice walls.

    We decided to climb uphill, for the best views over the bay. Snow, snow-frozen-over-to-slippery-ice, some rocks –  no problem, as the expedition team marked a good track up. So, inspired by Caroline's daily morning exercises, we decided to do more exercise as well. So let's start and work our way up to the hilltop.

  • This is not an exercise, I repeat, This is not an exercise
    That is the call for an abandonment of the ship, in case of an emergency. That was a mandatory practice we did before the Ortelius was allowed to leave the harbor at Ushuaia.

    However, our unfortunate case, it was reverse – From Antarctic grounds, how to get back to the Ortelius. 

    Standing safe rockery grounds, time to take in the breathtaking views. What’s on the other side? Slight turn and << SNAP >> there Jurgens back went. Not being able to stand, he sort of layed down on the rock, Cissy going down to look for help, leaving Jurgen in the good care of hands-on Dutch passenger Hans.

    I quickly ran into expedition guide Sandra, who went up, and sat behind Jurgen to keep him sheltered from the cold wind. Each excursion the doctor goes with the last Zodiac with passengers to the landing spot. Upon arrival,  he was already informed about the situation by the teams radios. So once on shore, he quickly went up to see what was going on with Jurgen. 

    At that point, Jurgen was unable to stand, walk and in lot of pain. Long story short, it took the combined efforts of a team of five and a stretcher to get passed-out Jurgen back to the landing spot. Next phase - Zodiac back to the Ortelius. Al-through the wind pick up fairly a lot by then,  Arjen navigated a smooth not-too-bumpy ride through wild waves.

    The captain of the Ortelius, maneuvered the ship in a stable position so the stretcher could be carried up through the gangway. That part Jurgen remembers again as the inevitable movement of the stretcher was felt in his hurting back. Once on board, four men managed to get Jurgen into his bed.

    Thanks to the impressive professionalism of many, from the highest rock point of the landing site – Jurgen was brought back safe to our cabin.  Co-passenger Hans, thanks for the hands-on support, and Jacco - we surely do owe you some penguins!

    The good and bad news:
    On board doctor Jacco diagnosed Jurgen - telling him the bad news:
    It’s a slipped disk.  
    That means bed rest and at same time, however painful, keep a bit of movement as well. 

    The good news: When you move, it will be painful but you won't make it worse.  And - there is  strong painkiller medicine on board. Boats procedure- morphine is locked up with only access by authorization of the ships captain. So 15 minutes later, at least the pain was soothed .

    More good news-  The ‘Chess-Play-Cards’ group support package – delivered at dinner time:

“Dear Jurgen,

Goddammit, your back was at the wrong place at the wrong time! We feel very sorry for you and hope that you will recover soon! In the meantime, we would like to cheer you up with this chocolate and by pointing out the less shitty aspects:

1. You got a hernia at the most BadAss place in the world
2. You will receive the greatest care by the sweetest woman on the boat: Cissy
3. You are the only V.I.P. receiving extra room service from the staff

Of course, it would be better if you can join us in the bar again. That is why we all hope you will recover soon”.


The package and funny card made Jurgen to break out in his first genuine big smile after the incident in the morning.  Brilliant Mega(n) Support you Guys & Girls!

Antarctica Fun Fact

Frederik handed us a positive perspective on the new situation: ‘Nice to have a human hump-back on board". 

So let’s zoom in on Hump-Back Whales.

First question that comes to mind is of course: “Do HumpBack Whales get hernias?”

Google got somewhat confused by this question, but the Antarctica – A Guide to the Wildlife did provide some other good to know facts about the Humpback Whales:

A male humpback is about 15 meters long, and weights up to 48 tons. As the small dorsal fin sits on a raised hump at the back; this whale was named the ‘HumpBack Whale’. They have big feet: flippers can be up to 5 meters wide. Their blow can be up to 3 meters high, so we can spot them easily.

They are not very fast swimmers, 4 to 6 knots an hour. The follow the coastal lines while swimming, mostly in small groups. They are huge animals, however they feed on tiny little fish, like krill which is famous in the Whales Favorite Gastronomy List. Krill is about 2 inches in size, the Antarctic ones are specifically popular – Hump Back Whales travel long distances to indulge on those.


Source- Antarctica, a guide to the wildlife. Apart from the Krill-Gastronomy list that is.

Jurci Travel

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