Day 7 |
Mar 15, 2010

Day At Sea

By Hans-Peter Reinthaler, Biologist

Co-ordinates: 60°20´S, 49°36´W

Weather: cloudy and windy

The first day at sea after these wonderful days on the Antarctic Peninsula was characterized by two natural elements: wind and swell. It started just after leaving the protected area of the Peninsula. The Prince Albert II was sneaking in between two low-pressure systems and so we had swell and wind from the one that was in front of us and from the next that came behind us. But still it could be worse being just in the center of one of this low pressure system. We passed Elephant Island last night at a quite far distance, heading across the Southern Ocean to our next destination: South Georgia.

An interesting lecture program filled out this day on board the Prince Albert II. After I had a delicious breakfast in The Restaurant with our guests at 10 o’clock, my colleague Kara Weller gave her lecture in The Theatre speaking about the “Whales of the Southern Ocean”. The presentation gave a short overview of their biology and an in-depth look at specific species we may encounter on our way. Shortly after Kara, our onboard historian Peter Damisch presented an interesting insight into the life and the expeditions of Sir Ernest Shackleton: “By Endurance We Conquer – Part II”. In this presentation our guests were able to learn more about this explorer, whose third expedition remains a hallmark of perseverance over adversity. Despite the swell and movement of the ship, the lectures were well attended by our guests.

During lunch in The Restaurant, the guests and I were observing how easily and without flapping his wings a Wandering Albatross was making his way over the sea, just admiring how well adapted these birds are to natural conditions. Other birds accompanying the Prince Albert II were the Cape Petrel, Antarctic Prions, Wilsons Storm Petrel and the Black Browed Albatross.

At two o’clock it was my turn in The Theatre to speak about the “Cabbage and Pearlwort”. The presentation gave a short overview about the flora and vegetation of this fabulous region.

The planed cooking demonstration of Douglas our chef onboard was postponed due to the sea conditions in the afternoon.

In the evening, Expedition Leader Robin West gave a short briefing to our guests about tomorrow, and my colleagues Juan Carlos, Kara and I held a short recap regarding tabular icebergs, swimming in cold waters, and lichens in the Antarctic respectively.

More or less around dinnertime the swell and wind were getting stronger and increasing to a swell of seven and wind to 30 knots, so only two-thirds of our guests enjoyed the excellent dinner in The Restaurant.