Day 6 |
Mar 02, 2009

At Sea

By Claudia Holgate, Environmental Lecturer

Co-ordinates: 50 34’14’’South, 074 15’11’’ West

Air Temperature: 8.5 degrees Celsius (47.3F)

Pressure: 1013hPa, 89% humidity

Wind: North @ 18 knots

We experienced a most magnificent sunrise while passing through some really narrow fjord passages, offering spectacular views of the amazing green mountains on either side of the ship for those who ventured to awaken early. The weather today has been largely overcast with intermittent rain, although on the whole it has been fair and mild. Our itinerary for the day was to be at sea, enabling us to reach Isla de Magdelena tomorrow. This afforded us an opportunity to sleep-in before breakfast.

Being at sea today meant that we had a number of lectures to give us a break from the awe-inspiring scenery. The first lecture was by our Environmentalist, Claudia Holgate, who discussed climate change and the global carbon experiment. The lecture delved into the impact that humans have on the environment through the burning of fossil fuels.

Claudia broke up the impacts into atmospheric indicators, including a 35% increase in carbon dioxide levels. She also cited such weather indicators as an increase in the number of storms and tropical cyclones, biophysical changes (e.g. the changes in movement of plants and animals) and the economic costs of climatic events over the past 80 years.

Much of Claudia's lecture was interspersed with personal anecdotes and a fascinating look at the global climate from 1870 to present, followed by global temperature projections from present-day to 2100. This is the type of lecture that always creates a lot of discussion and, at times, controversy; the questions following the lecture were a testament to the interest in the topic.

Shortly after the climate change lecture, our Photographer, Richard Sidey, gave a talk outlining the tips and tricks to good photography. He began with very simple rules on composition for those new to the art, then moved on to more technical aspects of maximizing the features on different cameras, from filters to aperture and timing settings.

Following Richard's lecture, we proceeded for a delectable lunch and restful nap before our Expedition Leader, Iggy, called to inform us that our plans had changed due to a cell of gale-force winds that we were about to enter into tomorrow. The news required that we try to dock at Puerto Eden tomorrow, instead of proceeding with our original plan. However, it also provided us with an opportunity to cruise up the Asia Fjord to see the Brujo Glacier. We then recapped yesterday's activities before entering the fjord.

The Captain skillfully guided us up the narrow fjord and as close as possible to the glacier front, which was azure blue and really beautiful. While watching the glacier, we saw it calve off a huge piece of ice; a magical experience indeed. It reminded me of a description of this area by Charles Darwin many years ago:

“The scenery here becomes even grander than before. The lofty mountains on the north side compose the granite axis, or backbone of the country, and boldly rise to a height of between three and four thousand feet. A wide mantle of perpetual snow cover the mountains, and numerous cascades pour their water through the woods and into the channel below. In many parts, magnificent glaciers extend from the mountainside to the water's edge. It is scarcely possible to imagine anything more beautiful that the beryl-like blue of these glaciers, especially when contrasted with the dead white of the upper expanse of snow. The fragments which had fallen from the glacier into the water were floating away, and the channel with the icebergs presented a miniature likeness of the Polar Sea for the space of a mile.”

We have been privileged to sail through this beautiful scenery for the past few days, and it is likely to be just as spectacular tomorrow.

Our memorable day concluded with the Venetian Society dinner, one of the few more-formal occasions on board, where we were treated to the best of our Executive Chef Sean.