Day 8 |
Jan 22, 2011

 Drake Passage 

By by Marylou Blakeslee, Lecturer


Co-ordinates: 60 55’ 45”S, 64 36’ 18”W
Weather: windy and overcast
Air Temperature: 40F
Wind: 40- 50 knots

We are experiencing the famous Drake Passage. Two weather systems are meeting us across this vast expanse of water. The first one we have just finished crossing paths with. The winds blew and the seas danced but our ship is doing a fine job of moving through this storm and our Captain is directing her into the safest and most comfortable course available.

This morning I went to a lecture by Uli Kunz about adaptations to the cold by creatures both terrestrial and aquatic. We use technology to provide for us what nature, over time, has provided the other animals.

Lunch was fairly well attended as the seas began to subside.

I gave an afternoon lecture on krill, the cornerstone species in the Antarctic food web. The last lecture of the day was given by Robin Aiello about her research project that involves diving under the Ross Ice Shelf.

The view from the Panorama Lounge and the Observation Lounge showed us the multi-hued waves of blue as they formed, broke and reformed.

After dinner, Robin West set up The Theatre for a showing of Shackleton, the movie. The room filled with guests, feeling much better than earlier in the day. Popcorn and drinks were available as we watched the unfolding story of a 22-foot lifeboat that crossed the same seas we were in now, but with much worse weather conditions. I thought of the depths of strength Shackleton and his men had had to pull from in order to save the lives of their friends back on Elephant Island.