Jill Bowring (Anton’s wife and expedition education liaison officer) wrote the following message to her friends and family. When we spotted it at Operations HQ we convinced her to allow us to use it on here, albeit in a slightly censored version! It gives an alternative, and very funnty, take of life on board SA Agulhas. Hope you enjoy…

“Good Evening All,

After a day and half of flat calm another gale is heading our way, it will be blowing straight up from Antarctica, perhaps it will be the one to satisfy Spencer’s wish to experience a really big storm in the Southern Ocean. Today was cold enough for two layers and hats, although there was little wind, all a bit of a shock to the system after balmy CapeTown. So I think we have now overtaken you temperature wise back there in moist grey UK. But we still have long days, and getting longer.

We should be seeing the first bergs in a couple of days. It has taken a little longer than normal to reach ice as we went west from Cape Town to get to the Meridian , so that some South African scientists (investigating the Southern Ocean carbon cycle) can take some measurements. However we are still only at 44S- closer to the equator than you are.

In a(nother) fit of madness I joined the on board boot camp organised by Ian, one of the ice team. This morning it took a long time to get out of bed as I tried to work out which muscles weren’t hurting (and that is after I cheated at every single exercise station of the circuit). Sadly I could find none that were useful unless I dragged myself over the edge by my teeth. Ian was caught, by another aching participant, reading a magazine called Ironman, we are now quite relieved that he will be getting off in a few weeks thereby giving us a few weeks before getting home to return to our usual blob shapes and lack of inertia.

The office is now stuffed with keyboarding people at all moments of the day; expectations by both recipients and senders of modern communications keep us all busy. The youngsters , Richmond and Spencer, are the night owls whilst everyone over 50 goes to bed exhausted at a reasonable hour. So that leaves about 3 that keep civilised hours. In fact one of them, a glaciologist said just this second- “Grief” (he’s Australian), “this digital age is really tiring isn’t it” – there were murmurs of agreement all around.

But I have completely forgotten to tell you one of my most exciting moments-it has not been mentioned on any blog to my knowledge. It happened just before reaching Cape Town; I had just pottered off to the loo, and had not bothered to put the light on (there are no portholes in there, so it was very dark indeed), I flushed the loo and the whole room was lit up by bioluminescence from the water swirling in. It was truly magical. Since then I have only been to the loo in the dark. At times, this can be a problem especially if the ship is moving around a lot, but the camera is ready and waiting for the return of the magic when I shall film it and then the footage sell to Harpic for a fortune.

Hope you are all keeping well and warm.

Love Jill”