Day 10 |
Jan 22, 2012

At sea, en route to Elephant Island  

By Uli Kunz, Oceanographer and Zodiac-Driver

Position: 58°31’ S, 46°37’ W
Air temperature: 1 °C, 33.8 °F
Water temperature: 1 °C, 33.8 °F
Air pressure: 979 hPa
Wind speed: 60 km/h

The wind picked up during the last night, so we experienced some rough weather for the first time during our voyage! Consequently, only a few guests showed up for breakfast and our Expedition Leader Robin West made an announcement to inform all guests that the Biosecurity Checks, which had been scheduled for today, were now postponed until the following day due to the rough sea conditions...

Our historian Peter Damisch continued his lecture about the dramatic adventure during Shackleton's Endurance expedition. After the sinking of their ship, all men lived on an ice floe for several weeks and later on continued sailing in the remaining lifeboats (which were still open rowing boats at the time). They made their way to Elephant Island (where we are hopefully going to visit in the next days), landed on a tiny rocky beach (a landing we haven't accomplished in the last ten years) and survived there for more than three months under terrible conditions (what we certainly don't ever want to do). Meanwhile, Ernest Shackleton, “the Boss”, refitted a lifeboat and set sail with five of his men to reach South Georgia for help. In his heroic voyage, he managed to navigate his tiny lifeboat through the wildest ocean on the planet, survived several storms, landed on the west side of South Georgia and climbed, crawled and slid over the high mountain range and glaciers to finally arrive at the whaling station of Stromness to ask for help. It took him several more weeks and three attempts to approach Elephant Island with a suitable boat to rescue the rest of his crew that he left behind in that hostile environment. Eventually, all of his men were rescued and made it safely back to England.

To complement Peter's lecture, we screened a movie about Shackleton's adventure in the theatre in the afternoon. The movie recounts this extraordinary adventure and shows amazing footage and still pictures taken by photographer Frank Hurley during the Endurance expedition.

Our geologist Juan Restrepo gave the last lecture for that day. He took a closer look at the world of glaciers, explained their features and formations and interpreted the various shapes of ice we are going to see during the next days when we are sailing among growlers, bergy bits and tabular icebergs!

Before dinner, we invited the members of the Venetian Society to a cocktail party. Everybody who has sailed with Silversea before automatically becomes a member of the Venetian Society during their next cruise on board one of the Silversea ships. The party is always an important opportunity to greet old friends and to make new ones. Today, however, not everybody was joining us in The Theatre as the swell in the Drake Passage was still quite unpleasant... but the weather forecast for the next days let us hope for the best!