Day 5 |
Nov 16, 2009

At Sea In The Southern Ocean

By Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist

Co-ordinates: 52º 41.1’ S, 048º 57.8 W’

Weather: Blue sky with scattered clouds

Air Temperature: 1ºC

Sea Temperature: 4ºC

Pressure: 1005 hPa

Wind: Fresh breeze blowing from the south at 20 knots

Days at sea, to me, are such a pleasure.  Especially when the weather is as nice as today.  This morning I woke up to a sunny sky, lots of seabirds following the ship and a gentle swell rocking he ship.

After a nice breakfast I went up on deck and did some bird watching.  There were different kinds of albatrosses, petrels, fulmars and prions.   All gliding effortlessly behind the Prince Albert II, taking advantage of the plankton and fish that get stirred up to the surface by the ship’s propellers.  Other reasons why sea birds follow boats might include the garlic and fresh bread smell coming from the galley, the association with fishing ships that usually provide fish to the birds and the wind updraft that helps them with their gliding, among other reasons.

At 10 am our onboard Marine Biologist Robin Aiello presented her “Marine Mammal Adaptations” lecture.  She shared with us some of the secrets how they have adapted to survive, how they find food, stay warm and communicate with each other.

After Robin’s lecture, a coffee and some more birding were in order, and at 11:30 most of our guests went back to The Theatre for the next lecture, and so did I. In this one, Richard Sidey entertained us with his “Tips and Tricks for Better Photographs in Antarctica”. Small things that can make big differences in your pictures.  I watch this lecture over and over again because it sums up the most important photography concepts without getting too technical. 

Lunch followed and at 14:30 our other onboard geologist Stefan Kredel (the one that is not me) presented “Plate Tectonics – A Nearly All-Explaining Theory”. He started with the history of the development of this revolutionary theory, introduced it briefly and gave an overview of the geology of the Scotia Sea in the light of the Plate Tectonics theory.

Some more bird watching was in order considering the great conditions out there before Team Trivia during Tea Time at 4 pm.  Robin Aiello entertained our guests with an Antarctic themed team trivia contest.  Good fun!

Then at 5:15 pm our head sommelier Priedrag offered a wine tasting seminar, probably the highlight of the day for some… And then at 6:45 pm the Expedition Team presented a Recap & Briefing. Today Robin Aiello talked about dynamic soaring of sea birds, followed by Chris Srigley who spoke about Commerson’s dolphins, then myself explaining the Antarctic Convergence (which we crossed today) and Victoria Salem who told us about Captain James Cook. After all that, Robin West came on stage and explained the plans for tomorrow when we will be preparing for our arrival to South Georgia.  I can sense the excitement in the air!