Day 6 |
Jul 09, 2009

14Th Of July Glacier / At Sea

By Stefan Kredel, Geologist

Co-ordinates: 79°07’29’’N / 11°52’21’’E

Weather: liquid sunshine

Air Temperature: 3°C

Pressure: 1010 hPa

14th of July! Luckily it is not the date (as this would mean the end of our voyage) but only today’s destination. The glacier we are arriving at 07:00 o’clock this morning is called “14th of July Glacier”, in honor to the French people as this is their national day.

Disembarkation started at 08:00, after we made sure that no hungry polar bear was waiting ashore. The alternative today was between B&B, or going towards the glacier, or doing both. B&B stands for Birds and Botany. Me, as geologist, I never made it to that side of the landing. But from what I understand by my colleagues’ descriptions, there are lots of nesting birds, like kittiwakes, guillemots and some other of those flying animals. And according to my Austrian colleague, there were quite some flowers in the area, fertilized with remains of former food, left from all the birds.

The way to the glacier was nice and easy along the coastline. We were only warned of big waves in case a major calving took place. If a big chunk of ice breaks off the glacier front and falls into the water, it can produce quite a big wave, which finally would hit the coastline. So we were advised to get away from the water should we hear a calving. But no big calving happened during our landing. But a smaller one at the end of our landing demonstrated with quite some wave action what a bigger one could have done.

The first of us went a bit up the glacier. But as quite some of us were struggling on the way back with mud moving on the ice slopes, it was decided to stop that part of the activity. Too many decided to take mud with them back on board … But the main thing was still possible, to get very close to this huge glacier front. It is about 60 meters out of the water. The weather became better during the morning, changing form liquid sunshine to dry and cloudy.

Back on board we had lunch. And then, as Conrad would say, there were quite some opportunities for napping. Two lectures were scheduled. The first one was by one of our biologists, Robin Aiello, entitled “Marine Mammals”. So we learned that a polar bear has also to be considered to be a marine mammal, and that dolphins are “only” small whales. In her talk she explained to us quite a lot about those animals and their behavior and explained how she slept for weeks with a small seal in her bathroom and what she did with a baby kangaroo under her t-shirt in an Australian video shop …

Obviously it was hard for me to come up afterwards for my talk “Plate Tectonics – a “nearly” all explaining theory”. Anyhow, I managed that not too many fall asleep, and no one snored, at least not in The Theatre …

The lecture was immediately followed by our daily Recap & Briefing. Conrad explained the plans for tomorrow, starting with a morning at sea.

Before dinner we had a Venetian Society Cocktail Party. All guests who had traveled before on one of the Silversea ships were invited. Caviar was served with the champagne, we heard about other Silversea ships, and those guests amongst us with the most travel days were announced.

The dinner was great like always. And as tomorrow morning is a day at sea, the bar stayed quite busy tonight …