Day 9 |
Nov 22, 2008

At Sea, En Route To The South Orkney Islands

By Robin Aiello

Overcast with fog and rain

Sometime during the night, the sea conditions had calmed down – the large 5-meter swells had settled down to a more tolerable 3 meters. We were amazed, however, how different the weather conditions were from what we had experienced yesterday. Instead of sunny blue skies with patchy white clouds, we had grey overcast skies with intermittent rain squalls. The winds remained strong as we sailed the open ocean south towards the South Orkney Islands.

It was a day of relaxation and learning. There was a series of lectures by the lecture staff. The morning started out with a lecture by Rob Suisted, our marine mammal specialist, entitled “Whales and Dolphins of the Southern Ocean”. During this wonderful presentation, Rob introduced us to the many species of whales and dolphins that we might see while travelling at sea over the next few days. He taught us what features to look for to help identify them. He also highlighted their ecological significance in the oceanic realm.

Rob’s talk was followed by another fascinating presentation by Dr. Gennadi Millinivesky on the “The Ozone Hole”. During his talk, Gennadi explained all about ozone, what the ‘ozone hole’ really is, and how it changes over time. The talk reflected on the history of the ozone hole discovery and recent results of his own investigations and findings.

After lunch, Juan Carlos, our Geologist, presented his talk entitled “Glacier Ice – the Life and Death of Continental Ice”. Juan took us on an exploration of the world of glaciers. He covered such topics as how they form, how to recognize key characteristics and why glaciers are so dynamic.

To finish off the day, Victoria Salem, our historian, gave a lively talk about “Otto Nordenskjold’s Swedish Antarctic Expedition 1901 – 1903”. She described Nordenskjold’s complicated adventures with such passion that we felt as though we were taking part in the adventure too.

At our nightly Recap and Briefing, the Expedition Team covered a range of topics: Victoria talked about the history of whaling in the region, Chris outlined an Albatross timeline of how they were discovered and named, Robin Aiello described the biology of krill, and Val, the onboard photographer, gave us a brief 6-minute peek at the video he is making about the voyage. Robin West, Expedition Leader, then brought us up to date on the weather conditions and the plans for the next day. He told us that the winds looked like they were coming from the wrong angle to land at Munroe Island, but that we had an alternative plan to head to Shingle Cove for a landing and Zodiac cruise. All we can do is wait until tomorrow and see what the conditions are like – this is REAL expedition cruising!