Day 10 |
Nov 21, 2009

At Sea In The Southern Ocean En Route To Elephant Island

By Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist

Co-ordinates: 56º 22.9’ S, 040º 08.1 W’

Weather: Overcast sky and a rough swell of 3 to 4 m

Air Temperature: 0ºC

Sea Temperature: 1ºC

Pressure: 1021 hPa

Wind: A moderate gale blowing from the Northeast at 25 - 30 knots

I think both guests and crew alike were longing for a day at sea.  South Georgia in all its beauty and grandeur had been spectacular and at the same time quite intensive in terms of the amount of things we did and the early starts. A true sensory overload. Everybody was very happy and a little bit tired from the long days, and some time at sea today was well appreciated.

After a nice late breakfast it was back to school! At 10 a.m. our onboard Marine Biologist Robin Aiello, presented “Survivors in Subzero Waters”. In this informative lecture Robin explained the amazing adaptations that fish and other sea-life need in order to survive in Antarctic waters.

At 11:30 a.m. I had my chance to lecture and, being a day at sea, I deemed it appropriate to talk about Oceanography. In my presentation entitled “Water, The Restless Sea” I explained the world’s main ocean currents systems, both surface currents as well as vertical water movement with an emphasis on Antarctica. I also explained waves, tsunamis and tides. 

Just after lunch, at 2:30 p.m. our Historian Victoria Salem gave a very interesting lecture entitled “Ernest Shackleton, the Greatest Explorer of the Antarctic Heroic Age?” Shackleton is famous for his amazing leadership skills during the Endurance expedition of 1914-17. What made this spectacular failure of a man so admirable? Was he skilled or lucky?  Victoria answered these and many other questions in this account of one of the greatest adventure tales of all times.

At 4 pm Stefan Kredel hosted a Team Trivia game during Tea Time, and at 5 pm a Recap & Briefing was offered by the Expedition Team. In this recap, Robin Aiello talked about pigmentation anomalies in animals – melanism, leucism and albinism. Richard Kirchner spoke about Giant Petrels, Anja about the wingspan of some sea birds, Victoria told us about the history of South Georgia and I closed the recap with the Geological history of the island.  After all that, Robin West came on stage and explained the plans for tomorrow when we will be preparing for our arrival to Elephant Island and the Antarctic Peninsula. 

So far so good!  I can confidently say that this trip has been a success so far.  Our visit to South Georgia was one that made a great impression on our guests.