Day 15 |
Nov 28, 2008

At Sea In The Drake Passage

By Juan Carlos Restrepo


Latitude:  60º 39.8’S

Longitude: 065º 34.9’ W

This morning, we woke up quite renewed after a complete and good night’s sleep. This welcome rest, after a few early starts on previous days, had us ready for a beautiful sunny day at sea in the “Drake Lake”. Conditions in the morning were pleasant with a moderate breeze (11-16 knots) blowing from the SW. There was a long gentle swell of about 2m coming from the NW. The sky was partly cloudy and the air temperature was a mild 3ºc (37 F). The sea temperature went from 2ºC in the morning to 4ºC at noon, which indicates that sometime during the morning we crossed the Antarctic Convergence, the natural boundary for Antarctica. We had left the white continent behind taking only wonderful memories and photos with us. As the day progressed, the sea conditions got calmer providing a much easier than usual ride across the Drake Passage.

During the day, the bird watching conditions were quite good. We spotted light mantled sooty, black browed, wandering and southern royal albatrosses. Cape petrels were around in good numbers all day, Wilson’s storm petrels and southern fulmars were also seen following our wake throughout the day.

The onboard educational program was offered as was usual for sea days. At 10 a.m. our onboard ornithologist Chris Harbard presented his lecture “From Mollymawks to Goonies”, explaining all there is to know about the wonderful world and life of the albatrosses and the challenges they are now facing because of long line fishing, in an entertaining and informative lecture.

At 11:30 am our Expedition Leader Robin West talked about “The Making of the Prince Albert II”, covering the extensive refit that the ship underwent when she was transformed from the MV World Discoverer to the Prince Albert II.

At 5 p.m. our Marine Biologist Robin Aiello presented a most interesting and fun lecture entitled “Survivors of Sub Zero Waters - Gigantism & Antifreeze”. We learnt how hundreds of species of invertebrates and fish that live in the oceans surrounding Antarctica have, over time, adapted to the extreme conditions and developed unique metabolisms, unusual physical traits and surprising chemical modifications to cope with the cold temperatures.

At 7 p.m. Captain Peter Stahlberg offered his Farewell Cocktail Party where he introduced his crew. Right after this event, our Executive Chef Sean Emslie and Maitre d’Hotel Uta Rickert hosted the Captain’s Farewell Dinner. After dinner a good number of people gathered at the bar for drinks and music.