A few days ago, as I awoke on our 7th day at sea, I saw a solitary Ice Berg float by my window. Thinking we had made it into the ice pack already and outside was an assembly of bergs, I took my time getting ready. When I finally made my way up the stairwell to the top deck, camera poised and ready, to my dismay, there wasn’t an Ice Berg in sight. Had I imagined it? Was I so subconsciously terrified about the challenges ahead that I was starting to hallucinate?

Fully prepared for the sarcastic response I would no doubt receive from any member of my team – further leaning me towards delusion – I decided I would use a more accurate form of research for re-assuring my sanity. As I stepped onto the bridge I was greeted with friendly welcome from several cadets and one very friendly First Mate.

spence_pic_4_396x296“Can you guys help me?” I asked “I thought I saw an Ice Berg a way back. Will any of your instruments confirm this?”

“Of course,” nearly half the cadets answered in unison.

Very excited to prove her skill, one young cadet standing by the radar screen started manipulating the monitor in front of her.

“See these dots here?” she asked, pointing to some little green dots on the screen. “This shows the two bergs we passed. They are almost 15 nautical miles back. What took you so long?” Laughing out loud, I thanked her for her help.

“I thought I was going crazy, imagining Ice Bergs is a bad sign.”

“Those weren’t Ice Bergs, those were Ice Cubes,” chuckled the First Mate as he corrected me.

I smiled and started to make my way out of the pilot house. In passing, I noticed the small wooden wheel that was the sole provider of navigational input to this mighty vessel. I grabbed a hold of it and shouted back at the First Mate: “Mind if I take the old girl for a spin?”

spence_pic_5_315x235“No!” he replied with a smile. “Didn’t you just say you were going crazy?”

Having checked the radar for any more ice within its 30 mile range of sight, I left the bridge disappointed. This was partly because there were no more bergs – sorry, cubes – nearby, but mostly because they wouldn’t let me drive.

When I rustled out of bed this morning, a familiar Ice Berg could be seen bobbing about outside my window.

“You’re not going crazy”, I said to myself, sounding a little crazy as I squinted out the window.

I promptly dressed and raced outside. A huge smile stretched its way across my face. Fourteen massive Ice Bergs surrounded the mighty Agulhas! I could see why the other ones were just “Ice Cubes” as they were tiny in comparison, easily less than a tenth the size of these giants. The waves crashed in and out of the caves that had eroded into the cliffs along their side, splashing up into the air as they carved the ice to pieces. When the sun caught them just right, the blue inside would light up, almost as if luminescent. I was so glad to see so many. There is no way I could imagine that many at once.

So, I guess I’m not going crazy. At least I don’t think I am, not yet anyways.