Day 2 |
Feb 10, 2009

At Sea, Heading Ne, In The Northern Southern Ocean

By Berenice Charpin

After leaving the sheltered waters of the Beagle Channel, we went right into our first full day at sea, sailing across the Lemaire Strait. 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.

Jacob Lemaire onboard the Hoorn and Wilhelm Cornelius Schouten onboard the Eendracht had departed Holland in January 1615. Their secret aim was to seek a south-west passage towards the Indies and was only revealed to their crew once they crossed the Equator. The Hoorn caught fire in Puerto Deseado (Patagonia, Argentina) in December 1615 and was lost. On January 24, 1616, they sailed south, past the entrance of the Magellan Strait and discovered both the strait that lies east of Tierra del Fuego and the island that they named Staten Island. This strait was named after the Captain of the lost vessel - Lemaire. Five days later, they discovered the southernmost island of South America and named it after the wrecked ship: the Hoorn, which we know nowadays as Cape Horn. Thus, they succeeded in finding the south-west passage to the Indies.

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

David Munro, our Geographer, started the lecture program with "The Falkland Islands - Beautiful and Wild". This lecture introduced us to the geological origin, geography, climate, landscape and history of the so-called "Gateway of the Southern Ocean". He also briefed us about the places we plan to visit: Carcass Island, West Point Island and Port Stanley.

Later on, we joined Chris Collins and Andrew Marshall for their presentation "Birds and Marine Mammals of the Falklands". Chris covered the most common species of birds by showing us photos and telling us about identification tips. Andrew talked about the seals, dolphins and whales that we might spot in these waters.

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

Later on, Peter Damisch presented his lecture "Falkland Islands: Tale of Intrigue and Tail of Sheep". Every single piece of information made us feel more excited about our destination and we eagerly look forward to disembarking on Antarctica soon.

Throughout the day, we saw many seabirds: Wandering Albatrosses, Black-browed Albatrosses, Giant Petrels, Prions and Wilson's Storm Petrels were among the easiest to watch. A pod of pilot whales was also spotted by our very observant ornithologist. Chris.

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 a very 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.