Day 2 |
Nov 30, 2009

At Sea Crossing The Drake Passage

By Claudia Holgate, Climatologist

Co-ordinates: 57o49’ 32”S 62 o51’12”W

Weather: Calm overcast conditions (Clearing up later) with slight breeze

Air Temperature: 3.5 C


Wind:12.7 knots

We had a wonderful night sleep as we entered the Drake Passage at about midnight. The “Drake” has been flat and I wasn’t disturbed at all when entering the mighty Drake. When I woke up this morning the sea was as calm as I had ever seen the Drake Passage and all the fears of having to cross the Drake Passage paled, as we were able to enjoy a delectable breakfast without worrying about being queasy. One guest said to me that he was rather disappointed, as he had prepared himself for the notorious Drake and all we experienced was calm seas. Of course we still have the return trip and there is no guarantee that we will enjoy the same “Drake Lake” experience.

Our first activity today was a mandatory lecture by our Expedition Leader, Conrad Combrink, on the requirements we have under the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO). It is comforting to know that our tourism is carried out responsibly, allowing future tourists the opportunity to enjoy the unblemished wilderness of Antarctica. As we use Zodiacs (our inflatable rubber boats) for all of our landings and some cruising, we had a briefing on how we use Zodiacs directly after our IAATO briefing.

I enjoyed some time on deck watching the magnificent albatrosses and petrels before heading back inside for the first-timers party, which was a chance to get to know some of the guests who have not traveled with Silversea before. Shortly afterwards was lunch with a varied buffet that offered something delicious for everyone.

One of my favourite lectures followed lunch, and that is “Tips and Tricks for Taking Better Photos” by our on board photographer, Richard Sidey. His useful tips and dry sense of humour makes his lectures a pleasure to attend. With perfect weather outside, we then had the chance to take our cameras out and use his tips to try and take better photos of the birds following the ship. 

Reluctantly, (I say reluctantly, not because I didn’t want to watch the lecture, but because the weather outside was so spectacular), I went back inside to listen to Rich’s excellent lecture titled “Southern Wings” on the birds that we will see on the voyage. Well, before long it was time to scrub my face and dress up for the Captain’s Welcome Cocktail Party and Dinner. A most auspicious affair, when we are completely metamorphosed into elegant, well-dressed staff and guests, quite a change from warm clothes and parkas. The food was very special for this occasion, with something for everyone’s taste buds from caviar to lobster.

This end our first day on board and I hope the weather holds up so that tomorrow we can say that we had smooth sailing through the whole Drake Passage, which would be an excellent way to start a magical trip.