Day 6 |
Nov 15, 2010

At sea

By Chris Harbard, Ornithologist

Weather: Cloudy
Air Temperature: 2 C
Sea Temperature: 2 C

I got up before breakfast to check out the seabirds from the deck. There were fewer birds than yesterday, now that we had crossed the Antarctic Convergence, with mostly Atlantic Prions skimming across the waves.

After breakfast came the Bio-Security checks for everyone, a mandatory procedure for all wanting to visit South Georgia. Outdoor clothing, backpacks and boots all had to be passed as clean and free from seeds or any other contaminants. Boots were washed, and clothes and bags were vacuumed.

I enjoyed Peter Damisch's talk “Search for the Unknown Continent”, which looked at the many explorers who pioneered the discovery of Antarctica including Captain Cook who was the first to cross the Antarctic Circle. Just after lunch we passed Shag Rocks, six small craggy islands protruding from the ocean and I could just make out large numbers of small black shapes flying to and from them – these were the shags (or cormorants) which gave them their name. A lone Wandering Albatross flew past at this time, shining out white against the sea.

Shoshanah Jacob's talk on “Life in the Southern Ocean” explained the ocean currents of the Southern Ocean and around Antarctica. These account for the wealth of marine life to be found and I liked how she tied together the krill and fish that abound with the albatrosses, penguins and marine mammals that depend on them, while at the same time telling us what to look for.

Teatime was a little different today as it was combined with a Trivia Quiz. Peter Damisch was quizmaster and tested the knowledge of our guests with 20 teasers about a range of subjects. I was on the Expedition Staff team, which sadly could not match up to the knowledge of the winning British couple.

Then, in the late afternoon, it was time for me to give my talk, “Mollymawks, Goonies and other Wanderers”, which gave an insight into the lives of the world's albatrosses and the problems they face with many threatened by man's activities. The daily Recap & Briefing prepared us for the early start tomorrow and everyone left for dinner excited with the prospect of a full day of landings on South Georgia.