I spent 22 days sailing on Bark Europa to the unspoiled, natural environment of Antarctica. It was the greatest, most rewarding and most challenging travel adventure of my life. You’d think that in such a remote landscape, time would stand still and hold little significance, but it was the opposite. With a watch system, scheduled meals, and timely lectures on board and scheduled landings ashore, I needed a reliable way to keep track of time. I welcomed my North of Denmark Hawk Eye II watch. I never could have predicted how handy it would be.
The Hawk Eye II is an evolution of the original Hawk Eye and has been designed to withstand arctic temperatures. While others had their watches and cameras freeze up as early as day one, mine was going strong. Even when it was exposed to winds and snow, it didn’t fog or stop. On most trips, I’d have my phone at hand with easy access to the time but I didn’t have much use for the phone in Antarctica. I didn’t realize how time dependent I am. Without my phone, I was checking my wrist often.
I put it to the durability test on a daily basis as well. When handling the lines and at the helm, the watch wasn’t normally covered. It was banged around and brushed against more parts of the ship than I knew existed but the scratch-resistant sapphire glass held up. The extra gaskets and reinforced house gave it increased water resistance. I never bothered to take it off when showering or even when swimming in the geothermally warmed waters of Pendulum Cove. I took the watch from the extreme heat of the volcanic sands to the icy waters above and it didn’t even fog.
I worried about the light and darkness test but the watch was very easy to read both in bright daylight and pitch black darkness. Figuring out sleeping habits on the ship was difficult. With a watch system that was changing nightly, I never fully adjusted to the schedule. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and wonder if I needed to be on the helm shortly. We slept sometimes in the day and other times in the night, but regardless of bed time, my room was always pitch black. It was comforting to see the luminiscent hands of the watch to let me know if I could go back to sleep or if I needed to get up.
Opting for the Velcro strap was a good choice in Antarctica. I never had cold steel against my skin and it fit well around my tiny wrist. Plus, I had the option to easily adjust it if I wanted my gloves to go above or below the watch, leaving it more visible even if I had more gear on.
It’s unbelievable how important time is in harsh conditions. Without having my phone at hand or access to the Internet, I relied hevily on my North of Denmark watch from Pilotur. It excelled in the last great wilderness, Antarctica.