Day 13 |
Mar 04, 2010

At Sea En Route From South Georgia To Antarctica

By Will Wagstaff, Ornithologist

Co-ordinates: 59 18 3 S, 51 12 6 W

Weather: A dull breezy day with occasional rain showers in the morning but a few sunny bursts late in the day. The wind remained between 30 and 40 knots all day from a south westerly direction.

Those out on deck early in the day could see that the Antarctic Prions were still flitting about the waters close to the ship, seemingly oblivious to the increased swell. The stronger winds and bigger swell meant that we were not making such good speed as yesterday but were still doing between seven and eight knots on our way to Antarctica.

The weather did not seem to be to the liking of albatrosses as we only saw one Wandering and a handful of Black-browed Albatrosses all day. The smaller birds were more plentiful, although difficult to follow as they dipped in and out of the swell. Wilson’s and Black-bellied Storm Petrels could be seen collecting food from the water surface whilst above them a scattering of Soft-plumaged Petrels were seen during the morning. There was a brief sighting of a whale blow in mid morning, but sadly that was all we saw.

The first lecture of the morning was Juan Barnett’s talk on the coastal seabirds, covering the less familiar species such as the gulls and skuas as well as the shags and sheathbills. These are species that belong to very large families and have evolved to fit a very particular niche in this polar region.

On our relaxing day at sea, Executive Chef Douglas Hope gave a cooking demonstration in the Panorama Lounge in late morning to whet our appetites for lunch that followed. The open Bridge was also a popular place during the day as people came and went, seeing what was going on with the wind and waves and to see how the ship was run.

‘Ice Ageless, Search for the Continent’ was Peter’s lecture during the first part of the afternoon. He took us through the early pioneers of Antarctic exploration, those that survived and those that didn’t and how these men of steel coped in such harsh conditions without all the modern clothing and comforts we have upon Prince Albert II.

I then hosted a team trivia quiz with an ornithological theme in the Panorama Lounge with twenty questions about the birds we had seen followed by ten word-play questions with a bird theme that Kara had given me. All teams did very well and the final result was only resolved by a tiebreak question as they had tied on a very creditable twenty points each.

At 1830 Robin, our Expedition Leader, gave a briefing in The Theatre about our progress and he and the Captain showed us some satellite ice charts of where we hoped to be in a few days time. Robin then gave us a lecture about the building of the ship following its purchase by Silversea and all the work that had been needed to bring it up to the standards it has reached today. As the talk finished, we could see a large iceberg away to port with another visible as we went to dinner.

Following dinner, some of the guests joined us in the Panorama Lounge for a game of ‘Liars Club’ that was hosted by Jarda with Robin keeping score. The “liars” from the Expedition Team were myself, Kara, Juan Carlos and Stefan and we like to think we kept everyone guessing as to who was telling the truth. So ending a pleasant, if somewhat bumpy day at sea.