Even for intrepid Antarctic explorers, being trapped for days in sea ice in one of the most hostile and remote regions on Earth is a serious matter.
"When we first got stuck in the ice, we could see icebergs on the horizon, and that was disconcerting because you can only see 20 percent of them and they move not just in relation to the wind, but what the current is doing under the water," expedition leader professor Chris Turney told NBC News via satellite phone.
The MV Akademik Shokalskiy and the 74 crew, scientists and volunteers on board, looked set to be rescued by an ice-breaking rescue vessel Friday. They have been locked for three days in ice more than 1,700 miles south of Australia.
Although morale has remained high, the three-day wait has been fraught with concerns about icebergs, high winds, and the growing distance between them and open water, Tunrey said.
"The wind conditions have also been putting a lot of strain on one side of the ship -- we've had blizzards and wind speeds of up to 70 kilometers per hour," Turney added. "The build-up of ice on one side has given it quite a tilt, of four or five degrees. This might not sound a lot but you can really feel it when walking down the corridors."