Day 2 |
Jan 19, 2009

At Sea, Far From Land, In The Northern Drake Passage

By Berenice Charpin

Temperature: 5ºC, Pressure: 985hPa

Wind: 13km/h NE
Noon position: 570 35’ 48’’ S, 640 09’ 51’’ W

After leaving the sheltered waters of the Beagle Channel, we went right into our first full day at sea, sailing across the renowned Drake Passage. Although we experienced some mild rolling, the sea conditions were very good. Even our Captain commented on the smooth sailing we had encountered thus far. As for the weather, the wind blew gently at around 8 to 15 kilometres per hour and the sky was overcast all day long.

We enjoyed our first breakfast on board, after which we wandered around the inside and outer decks to familiarise ourselves with the ship and our surroundings.

Claudia Holgate, our Naturalist and Environmentalist, started the lecture program with “Ice, Wind and Waves – an Introduction to Antarctica and its Climate”. This lecture introduces Antarctica and explains why it differs form other cold places on the planet, by detailing the combination of factors that make it an inhospitable land.

Later on, we joined Chris Collins for his presentation “Seabirds of the Drake Passage”. He covered the most common species of Albatrosses and Petrels in the area by showing us photos and telling us about identification tips. We learnt some interesting facts about the life and habits of these amazing birds of the Southern Ocean.

After lunch some of us had a short nap and then we all gathered in The Theatre for the mandatory briefing on Zodiac operations: how to safely enter and leave our “taxis of the Antarctic”. Since we expect all our landings to be wet ones, rubber boots were given out.

Our afternoon continued with a lecture by Andrew Marshall titled “Bohemothian Rhapsody”, during which we were introduced us to the fascinating world of Antarctic whales. Every single piece of information made us feel more excited about our destination and we eagerly look forward to disembarking on Antarctica soon.

In the evening, Captain Peter Stahlberg invited us to his Welcome Cocktail Party, which was followed by the Welcome Aboard Dinner, where everyone could show off their most elegant attire and enjoy another special meal prepared by the Executive Chef, Sean Emslie.

The day ended with the smooth sounds of Adam on the piano at the Panorama Lounge.