Day 16 |
Nov 25, 2010

At sea, en route to Ushuaia

By Franz Gingele, Geologist

Co-ordinates: S 58º 34.26’, W 63º 15.53’
Weather: Sunny and partly cloudy
Air Temperature: 4ºC
Pressure: 990 hPa
Wind: 60.3 km/h

After leaving the South Shetland Islands through the English Channel last evening we were mentally prepared for the rough seas of the infamous Drake Passage. But so far the Drake has treated us kindly and we wake up to blue skies and sunshine with only moderate winds and seas. After experiencing Deception Island, a surprisingly large number of guests show up in The Theatre in spite of the increasing ship movement. The morning is filled with lectures and I take the chance to explain the “where and why” of volcanoes in Antarctica to our guests. Volcanoes are found throughout West Antarctica as a continuation of the Pacific Ring of Fire as well as lining the “Ross Sea Rift”.

As usual, I get carried away by the subject and there is only half an hour time for a quick breath of fresh air before the next lecture by Peter Damisch about Charcot, the French explorer and polar gentlemen. In contrast to many of his colleagues during the heroic age, Charcot was not interested in fame and glory or profit, but rather in scientific results. He financed two ships and expeditions, and overwintered in the Antarctic to conduct scientific research. His data was a solid basis for Antarctic Science for decades to come.

During tea time in the Panorama Lounge, a game of Liar’s Club explored the finer nuances of the English language.

At 5 pm we have the option to listen to one of the last lectures of our voyage by our botanist Hans-Peter Reinthaler. He explains the connections of the plant world within the southern continents, which were once joined in the giant supercontinent of Gondwana.

At 7 pm Captain Peter Stahlberg invited all of us to his “Farewell Cocktail Party” in The Theatre followed by the “Farewell Dinner” in The Restaurant. By now we are used to the ship’s movement in the Drake Passage and hardly anybody misses the chance to get together for a last time before this fantastic and memorable voyage comes to an end tomorrow in Ushuaia.