29th January 2013: Back at sea and leaving the Antarctic Peninsula
7am. Midday. 7pm. [Unless it’s a Sunday which means slightly later breakfast, or a reversed modified Saturday which may or may not mean brunch instead of lunch, but don’t get me started on that!!]
These are the key times by which our days on the ship are ruled: meal times. As soon as we’re out of one meal, our thoughts turn to the time remaining until the next. “Only four hours and twenty three minutes till dinner!” or similar is a common refrain from our cabins.
We’ve heard from a few sources that the kitchen works on a daily budget of only £2.30 per person per day and what they achieve on that is an absolute miracle. The food on board is excellent, diverse and nutritious and I’m sure that as much as any of the crew, it is the chefs that keep the ship functioning normally. I feel especially privileged; because I am vegetarian (the only one on board as far as I can tell), I get my own personal meal cooked for me every night. I’m massively grateful for this.
Restraint is a personal quality that is extremely necessary in the canteen. With the potential to have a full blown fry up and two cooked meals (including a pudding in the evening) every day, it’s easy to see how you could quickly pile on the pounds if not careful. Hence the importance of sticking to daily routine #1! Picking the healthy options is quite possible though and I rejoice in piling on the fresh veg when available and am full of glee when a new batch of crisp fresh apples magically appears after over three weeks on board. It was a sad day for sure when, last week, the salad that accompanied lunch every day ran out L
As well as their good taste in music which often floats through from the kitchen, the chefs in particular work miracles with potatoes. Never have we known such diversity of flavour and texture from the humble spud from one day to the next. If they ever leave the Navy, we think the chefs should start a potato restaurant cum nightclub. I’m sure there must be a gap in the market for such a thing and we will be first in the queue!
So meal times are something that we always look forward to. But perhaps over the next couple of days we may end up skipping a few. We’ve almost said goodbye to Antarctica and are on the verge of heading back north across Drake’s Passage. You remember that from last time? How I was sick even though it was actually quite calm? Well, this time the weather forecast is bad, so who knows what might happen!