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Day 1 |
Feb 09, 2010

Ushuaia

By Stefan Kredel, Geologist

Co-ordinates:  54°55’S, 67°28’W

Weather: mainly sunny

Air Temperature: 8,0°C

Last night was quite bumpy and the winds were as much as 80 knots and accompanied by heavy swells. Fortunately the weather moderated during the morning and so everyone was able to go through the mandated Antarctic biosecurity check of our clothing and equipment, and thus ensure no transport of alien flora to the continent. Meantime, while the biosecurity check was in progress, Claudia gave her presentation “Ice, Wind and Waves: An Introduction to Antarctica and Its Climate”, but gave it twice so that those going through the biosecurity check did not miss the opportunity to learn about the environments we are about to visit. And those out on the aft deck were rewarded with huge flocks of Cape Petrels along with a few Giant Petrels, the odd Antarctic Petrel, and a few Wilson’s Petrels dancing over the wash behind the Prince Albert II.

This morning, we finished the last expedition cruise. Turnaround days are always busy days for everyone onboard. The ship has to be refilled with all kinds of provisions, all the suites have to be prepared for the new guests, and a lot of other things have to be done as well.

But as usual, when the guests came and embarked at 15:00, all was ready for a new voyage. As Ushuaia is an international harbor, some of our guests had to go through a security check in the small terminal building at the beginning of the pier. I was positioned there to welcome our new guests and show them the short way of about 150 meters to our ship, their new home for the next 10 days, the Prince Albert II.

Once all guests were onboard and had made themselves a bit comfortable in their suites, the mandatory lifeboat drill took place. Straight after that we left the pier and started our trip down to the peninsula. I was out on deck, and even though we had a bit of “liquid sunshine” a lot of our guests were on the outer decks to see how Ushuaia became smaller and smaller in the distance.

Before dinner was the introduction of some of our heads of departments and the entire Expedition Team. So our guests got a brief idea of who will be responsible for a good trip down to Antarctica and back. But our fearless Expedition Leader Robin West made it very clear that the guests would be responsible for the weather. And the weather forecast for the Drake Passage, the small piece of ocean between South America and Antarctica, was not too good.

So I secured my suite, as I don’t like to get up in the middle of the night because everything starts moving and falling down. But maybe it won’t be too bad. We will see, how bumpy it will get …

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