The MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which is stuck in ice in
Kiwi ornithologist Kerry-Jayne Wilson's fourth day
stranded on a ship trapped by pack ice in Antarctica started
with news that rescue could still be days away.
Wilson is one of 74 people - including five fellow Kiwis -
stranded 3000km southwest of Bluff on the MV Akademik
Shokalskiy, which struck heavy ice on Christmas Day.
Hopes of rescue were high on Friday after three ships
responded to a call from the Australian Maritime Safety
Authority and the Rescue Coordination Centre Australia, which
are managing the rescue. The ship is stranded in waters that
fall under Australian responsibility.
But the first ship to get close to the Akademik Shokalskiy,
Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon, was itself stopped by heavy
ice 6.1 nautical miles short of the stuck vessel. Snow Dragon
has an ice rating of about 1 metre.
Those on the stranded ship are mostly scientists travelling
on a voyage retracing Sir Douglas Mawson's 1911 Antarctic
expedition. A video posted to YouTube by expedition leader
Chris Turney showed them celebrating the sight of the Snow
Dragon on the horizon on Friday night.
News the first rescue attempt had been unsuccessful had been
met with "general disappointment", Wilson said.
"Oh well ... spirits are still high, everyone is still well
and happy as can be. We're just resigned to another few days
of waiting. The other Kiwis are good - we just ask that you
reassure people that we are okay."
Wilson said passengers, while frustrated, were not suffering.
Food was still plentiful and the two Kiwi cooks on board were
"doing us proud", Wilson said.
"I can't remember what was for dinner last night, but we
always have a choice of two mains and both are always
wonderful. At Christmas we had a huge meal with entrees,
wines, three roast meats and a wonderful choice of desserts."
Although she only had yoghurt and fruit for breakfast, the
menu included bacon and eggs and porridge, she said.
Cabin fever had not set in, as the scientific observations
and experiments were continuing, lectures taking place and
work on papers starting early.
"Normally we'd do that when we get back, so it's a wonderful
chance to do this when we are all together."
The voyage, which began on December 8, had planned to end in
Bluff on Saturday or Sunday.
Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokeswoman Andrea
Hayward-Maher said the Aurora Australis, and Australian ship,
is expected to arrive tonight.