Day 7 |
Aug 27, 2009

At Sea

By Rob Suisted, General Naturalist

Co-ordinates: 066°55.41'N 054°36.48'E

Weather: light overcast skies, light wind

In the wee hours we were woken up for a very special viewing. The Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis) were playing above the ship. It’s always a tough call for the Expedition Leader Robin on whether to wake the ship for the spectacle, as it can disappear as quickly as it appears. Fortunately, luck continued and many got up to witness this amazing display at 1am.

At more sedate hours, we all woke for breakfast. Today was the first morning in a while where we didn’t have an early start. With the two last amazing days of activity I think most guests were glad to relax and enjoy the more leisurely pace. I know I was.

After breakfast, Claudia Holgate gave a lecture on global warming, a topic of interest to many people here, and one very pertinent to the place we are currently travelling in.

Then at 11am, Richard Sidey, our resident photographer and videographer, displayed his work. He’s compiled a wonderful DVD of the trip. Again, we were impressed with his work. For me some of the grand pieces involved time-lapse sequences taken of the ship moving through the big iceberg fields. The effect is to speed up the movement of the ship, and the ice – very nice.

After lunch, Susan Langley gave us a very interesting lecture on something none of us would ever have heard about. During World War II, an idea known as Operation Habbakuk was proposed to use icebergs as aircraft carriers as they are un-sinkable, and a prototype was built in Jasper, Canada.

Then later in the day, Toby Musgrave gave a lecture on Charles Darwin and his voyage of discovery. I’ve a personal interest in this as my ancestor laid on a banquet for Captain Fitzroy (Master of the HMS Beagle) in Wellington New Zealand, in 1844.

Hans-Peter and Christian also gave lectures for the German-speaking guests onboard, about Arctic foodwebs and Arctic explorers.

We’re now heading for Kangerlussuaq, our final destination on this voyage. So, this evening is somewhat sad as it’s time for the Captain’s farewell dinner. It’s been a nice cruise, and the weather has been stunning. We all have great memories, but know that tonight we must enjoy our last dinner together as tomorrow we will say our good-byes to new acquaintances.