Day 13 |
Mar 21, 2010

At Sea, En Route To Falkland Islands

By Hans-Peter Reinthaler, Biologist

Co-ordinates: 52°38´S, 46°46´W

Weather: cloudy and windy, in the afternoon partly sunny

The second day at sea after these beautiful and exciting days on South Georgia, was again characterized by two natural elements: wind and swell. In the afternoon the weather was sometimes sunny and the swell decreased to some extent.

An interesting and different lecture program filled out this day on board the Prince Albert II. On our stay in Grytviken, South Georgia, we picked up Hayley Shephard, Beth-Ann Masselink and Bridget Steed as guests on board. Hayley had kayaked around South Georgia and Bridget had lived for more than six months in Grytviken, working in the local museum. Both gave today’s morning presentation on of their experiences on this island. At 10 o’clock Hayley started with a lecture on her sea-kayaking expedition around South Georgia. It was interesting to hear her talking about her attempts, successes, failures and motivation to help raise awareness for the Albatross, which is one of her favorite birds. The presentation was an excellent mix of emotions, drama and hard facts that attracted the attention of our guests for nearly one hour.

Shortly after Hayley’s adventure story in the southern ocean, Bridget gave a completely alternate view of life on this island. Especially interested in the whaling history of South Georgia, Bridget was working at the museum as an artist. But life in Grytviken covered not only the work in the museum. As she lived at the King Edward base of the British Antarctic Survey, duties like patrolling, rescue drills and cooking for the whole team were part of the daily life on this unique island. Despite the swell and the movement of the ship, both lectures were well attended by our guests.

During lunch in The Restaurant, the guests and I were again observing the Wandering Albatrosses on their way around the seventh continent. With an astonishing ease and without flapping their wings, they are making their way day after day through the southern ocean. Other birds accompanying the Prince Albert II were the Soft Plumage Petrel and the White Chin Petrel.

At two o’clock my colleague Juan Barnet, our ornithologist on board, gave a presentation entitled “The Birds of the Falklands”. The lecture gave a short overview about the rich birdlife of this continental archipelago.

In the evening, Expedition Leader Robin West gave a short briefing to our guests about tomorrow, and my colleague Peter and I held a short recap regarding Beaufort’s Wind scales and Tussac Grass communities respectively.

More or less around dinner time the swell and wind were decreasing a little bit and the Captain also slowed down the speed of the ship so that our guests could fully enjoy another excellent dinner in The Restaurant.