Day 10 |
Jan 14, 2011

 Crossing the Drake Passage en route to Ushuaia 

By by Robin Aiello, Marine Biologist


Co-ordinates: 55°10’S, 066°17’W
Weather: overcast, rainy with strong winds

Today was our second day crossing the Drake Passage — and the seas remained bumpy. I was hoping to wake up today and find that the Captain’s forewarning of a looming storm was false, but it was not the case. Although it was not as bad as predicted, the waves were still about 10m high, and the winds had picked up to about 45 - 50knots.

I must admit, though, I find these days beautiful in their own way – the dark grey seas contrast strongly with the light grey skies, and the white froth blowing off the tops of the waves is really picturesque. A few of us intrepid adventurers ventured out on deck before the Captain made an announcement advising that we should remain indoors until the ship reached the safety of the Beagle Channel where the seas will be calm.

Thankfully, the Expedition Team had a day of lectures planned, starting at 10am with Peter Damisch, our historian, and his lecture entitled “Antarctic Treaty, Who’s in Charge?”. Peter went back through time and gave us an historic perspective on how the Antarctic Treaty was developed – the social, political and environmental pressures that contributed to its formation.

By lunchtime the ship was cruising along calmer waters and finally many people who had been holed up in their suites for the rough seas, ventured back out to join us in the Restaurant for the delicious buffet. As we entered, we were greeted by Remy, our Confectionaire, making Crepe Suzettes! We could hardly wait to eat our main course before heading to his table for dessert!

After lunch, at 2pm, Uli Kunz, the other marine biologist on the Expedition Team, gave a talk about the “Legends of the Deep”. This was a fascinating talk about some of the lesser known creatures from the deep waters of the world, including the coelacanth, giant squid, deep ocean anglerfish and cold water corals.

Before dinner, the onboard photographer and videographer Kristine Hannon presented her voyage video – a masterpiece of video and still photos taken during our 10-day trip. It is such a great way to end the cruise – looking back at everything that we have done over such a short time. We could relive the majesty of the icebergs, the funny antics of the penguins, the sleekness of the seals and, of course, the delight of just being out in the wild in such a remote and pristine part of the world.

Thanks to the Captain, our arrival into Ushuaia was moved forward, so by 7:30pm the ship was berthed alongside and cleared through immigration so everyone who wanted to could venture off the ship and wander around the quaint town of Ushuaia before dinner. What a perfect way to end what everyone on board has dubbed the “postcard cruise”!!!