Day 11 |
Jan 01, 2012

Drake Passage

By Kara Weller, Biologist

Co-ordinates: 59° 08’ S 64° 36’ W (noon position)
Weather: partly cloudy
Air Temperature: 4° C
Pressure: 998 hPa
Wind: 60 km / h
Humidity: 87%

The ship was a quiet place this morning, and actually it stayed very quiet the entire day. Whether people were suffering from seasickness or hangovers or perhaps both was hard to tell. Whichever the case, most people slept in and spent a fair bit of the day as well lying in bed, some suffering and some just relaxing.

The nearly-all-day-breakfast buffet was impressive. Running from 8 am to 2 pm, everyone had the chance to go in and out as often as they liked during the course of the morning and noontime to help themselves to a wonderful spread.

The lecture program continued today with several different talks given by various staff members. First up was Uli talking about underwater life around the world and some of the strange creatures that can be found in the seas. Next was Franz with an in-depth look at bird migration and the many fascinating discoveries that have been made regarding how the birds actually manage to do it. Later in the afternoon Peter talked bout Charcot – an interesting French explorer whose work along the Antarctic Peninsula is sometimes a bit overlooked. In the late afternoon a Recap & Briefing was held as usual in The Theatre.

The seas were not as bad as most people had expected, and it was a reasonably comfortable ride today. The sun shone at times on the sea and sparkled across the water in a beautiful way. Because there was not much wind it felt relatively warm outside, and it was wonderful to sit for short periods of time out there and contemplate the never-ending horizon.

Because of the lack of much wind there was however not much bird life to observe. A few glimpses of seabirds flying past showed prions, one black-browed albatross, and one skua – a rare sighting for the middle of the Drake Passage. Hourglass dolphins were seen briefly as well.

In the evening our Captain’s farewell cocktail party took place in The Theatre. Captain Alex spoke a few words about our trip and brought many of the crew up onto stage to also thank them for all their hard work. The many chefs in their tall white hats lined up on stage were an impressive sight. And then it was time for yet another delicious dinner in The Restaurant, which made for a nice ending to an otherwise very quiet day.