Day 11 |
Dec 10, 2008

At Sea

By Chris Srigley

Noon Position: 56°02’97S 65°34’79W

After last night’s heaving seas in the Drake Passage, where sleep for some was most difficult, all onboard were happy to awake this morning to calmer seas and the sight of the sun peaking through the clouds. .

As we looked out The Restaurant windows during breakfast, we could see that the giants of the Southern Ocean once again greeted us: Wandering, Southern and Northern Royal Albatross circled Prince Albert II. Joining them in their acrobatic displays were a few Black-browed Albatross and the ever-present Cape Petrels. Having crossed the convergence, temperatures had risen to 8°C (47°F), the warmest we had encountered since departing from Ushuaia ten days earlier.

Post breakfast, several guests enjoyed the warmer weather out on deck viewing the sea birds. Shortly, they would be invited into The Theatre to join Robin Aiello for a talk entitled, “Survivors of the Sub-Zero Waters-Gigantism & Antifreeze”. When Robin gives this talk all are held captive through its entirety as she tells us about the amazing creatures who survive in the waters surrounding Antarctica. Over time they have adapted to these conditions developing unique metabolisms, unusual physical traits and surprising chemical modifications. .

Shortly before lunch Jarda Versloot invited all guests into The Theatre again for a quick disembarkation briefing. Always a sad note, it is nonetheless important for all guests to attend, as Jarda passes along all relevant information pertaining to tomorrow’s disembarkation, flights and luggage issues. Once Jarda had completed her briefing, many remained in The Theatre reminiscing over the past ten days. What was the memory that would stand out the most? The gusting winds of day four and five? Sunset and sunrise in the Lemaire Channel? Maybe Vernadsky Station or Paradise Harbor? Whichever it was, all were sure to have many stories to tell their friends. As we all shuffled into The Restaurant, like the penguins we had enjoyed so much, there was a buzz in the room. Smiles all around. .

As our final day onboard Prince Albert IIpushed along, it was time to join Victoria Salem in The Theatre for a brief discussion on The Antarctic Treaty System. Victoria would introduce us to this complex treaty system, some of its advisory organizations, and considerations for its enforceability and effectiveness. .

Through the rest of our day, it is much of the same conversation, with guests looking back over the trip. However, at 1800, it was time for them to come and relive their time in Antarctic in the form of a photo presentation. Our onboard photographer Val has been working hard over the past ten days, preparing this photo presentation. Gathered in The Theatre, there was silence as Val’s artistic shooting was showcased for all. Each guest will receive a copy of this presentation, and it is sure to be a cherished memory for all. .

Before heading out onto the back deck to join the Hotel Department for a cocktail, our Expedition Leader Robin West would thank each of the expedition staff for a job well done. But Jarda would get the final word: “To our leader!”