Day 2 |
Jan 16, 2011

 Drake Passage 

By by Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist


Co-ordinates: S 57º07.1’, W 064º43’
Weather: Overcast
Air Temperature: 4ºC
Sea Temperature: 6ºC
Pressure: 999 hPa
Wind: 25 knots

I awoke this morning to the rhythm of rock and roll, and I am not talking about music, I am referring to the gentle movements of the ship as she graciously rides the swells of the southern ocean. The sea conditions today are certainly a bit rougher than anticipated, but nothing above average for the Drake Passage. Unfortunately, some of our guests however, are paying the “Drake Tax” today.

Over the last couple of days, a big storm passed by and left a rather rough residual swell of about 4 to 5 meters (13 to 16 ft). On top of this, a strong breeze has been blowing all day at about 25 knots (46 km/hr), which is equivalent to a Force 6. These are conditions that added to guests’ jet lag and accumulated tiredness from long-haul flights, and inclined some towards a sleep in and a day of rest in their suites.

Regardless of that, we planned a day of activities for those that were out and about. These days at sea are a fantastic opportunity to present our onboard educational program through a series of lectures on diverse topics, that are broadcast live into the suites via the TV system, so that those in bed can also enjoy the content, learn new stuff and not miss out.

At 10 am Rich Kirchner gave an interesting lecture on seabirds entitled “Southern Wings”, in which he talked about many of the species we might see on our way south and the challenges they face as a result of long line fishing in the Southern Ocean.

And we certainly saw many seabirds today, especially albatrosses and petrels of different kinds, taking advantage of the nice breeze that was blowing today, and the food brought to the surface by the turbulence of the ship’s propellers.

At 11:45 the First Timers’ Cocktail Party was held in The Theatre. This get together, hosted by our onboard Venetian Society representative Jarda Versloot, provided a good opportunity for fellow guests to meet each other, and for us to get to know them.

At 2 pm I gave a lecture entitled “Ice on the Rocks – The Cool World of Glaciers”. We took a closer look at the world of glaciers: Valley Glaciers, Fjords, Ice Sheets, Ice Shelves and Icebergs. I also spoke about their features and how they form and shape the landscape.

At 5 pm Kristine Hannon presented a great lecture on Photography called “Getting Started” that included lots of compositional and technical tips and pointers to capture the best landscape and wildlife photographs in Antarctica.

At 7 pm the Master of the vessel, Captain Alexander Golubev, offered a Welcome Cocktail Party where he introduced his senior officers, followed by a wonderful gala dinner prepared by our Executive Chef Norbert Ruhdorfer and served by Maitre d’Hotel Ali Yilmazturk and their respective teams