Day 10 |
Jan 27, 2009

At Sea, Heading North In The Drake Passage

By Andrew Marshall

Weather: Air Temperature: 6˚C, Sea Temperature: 4˚C

Pressure: 990 hPa, Wind: NW 30 knots

Noon Position Co-ordinates: 58˚ 55’ 9” S, 62˚ 57’ 6” W

We awoke to a moderate sea, and even without a wake-up call from our Expedition Leader Iggy, we still managed to get up for a wholesome breakfast and the first morning lecture. This was the second instalment of “Shackleton - Enduring Quest” by our onboard historian Peter. The greatest story of all time was brought to life once again with a fresh and stimulating style by Peter, who impressed upon us a great deal of respect and justice for Shackleton and his men.

The second of the morning lectures “Vertebra and other Fossils from Antarctica” by our onboard historian David took us on a geological journey throughout the continent and gave us great examples of important discoveries in this great land. The sea was building by this stage, so David’s audience was a mixture of those with the sea legs strong enough to make a direct attendance, and those that chose the luxury of being able to view the lecture in bed via the closed-circuit television system.

After another hearty lunch in The Restaurant, we had to face the realization that the voyage would soon be ending, as the luggage tags were distributed and the first thoughts and actions towards packing up the suitcases were being made. Outside on the deck though there were several attractions to put us back in the moment. The albatross and other seabirds were soaring, and many guests were treated to a great display of hourglass dolphins, which were leaping right clear of the waves while surfing the stern wake of the vessel.

Guests learnt about the unique life histories of the six species of seal that live down in Antarctica during my afternoon lecture “Fins, Furs and Flippers”. Included in my presentation were many photos of the seals we encountered during this voyage, which brought back some fantastic memories.

The sea continued to build in the afternoon, so an executive decision by the Executive Chef Sean was made not to go ahead with the Wine and Food Pairing demonstration. Many of us took the chance to catch up on some well-earned rest and relaxation after the busy schedule of landings, lectures and other festivities we have been enjoying in the south.

At six o’clock we realised the world can make a difference to the global climate while listening to Claudia deliver her lecture “The Ozone Hole Story - A Tale of Global Success”. It is fantastic to think that man can recognise and overcome environmental impacts, and many of us gained hope that the same cooperation and shift in policies can be applied to climate change.

Yet another sumptuous dinner was served in The Restaurant, during which there was a panoramic scene of the dynamic surf and swell of the Drake Passage. However, the Prince Albert II proved exceedingly seaworthy and remained very stable relative to the conditions outside. The tempering motion of the vessel meant most were gently rocked to sleep tonight by the great cradle of the Southern Ocean.