Day 8 |
Dec 17, 2009

Lemaire Channel, Peterman Island

By Michaela Mayer, Marine Biologist

Co-ordinates: 65°10’S, 64°10’W

Weather: snowing

I woke up this morning at 6:45 am to cold, windy and snowy conditions. We were just about to enter the Lemaire Channel. Even though the weather was not the best, there were a lot of the guests up and about, enjoying the scenery in this winding waterway. Soon after the passage, the ship arrived at our destination on Petermann Island, and we anchored.

While groups 3 and 4 went ashore, Claudia Holgate gave a lecture about weather and climate of Antarctica. The talk showed the different influences on the climate of Antarctica and explained the weather patterns that we faced on this trip. Claudia repeated this talk when groups 1 and 2 came ashore where the rest of the Expedition Team spent the morning.

At the landing site, the snowfall was really dense. Petermann Island is a 1km-long island that rises up to approximately 150 metres above sea level. An ice cap covers part of the northwestern end of the island and a potentially crevassed permanent ice-slope largely covers the southern end of the island. Many small cobbled bays indent its coastline, with nearly continuous rocky outcrops along the shore.

Confirmed breeders for Petermann Island are Adélie penguin, gentoo penguin, blue-eyed shag, Wilson’s storm petrel, snowy sheathbill, and south polar skua, all of which we were able to see. Some guests witnessed the first Adélie penguin chicks of the season. The chicks were hard to detect because the adults didn’t move a lot in this dense snowfall.

Besides watching the penguins, there was a good opportunity to get some exercise on a hike to the southern end of the island. This became our southernmost point of this voyage: 65°10’S, the polar circle is just 70 nautical miles further south. Against the snowfall and through the deep snow layer we were able to lose some of the calories we put on in The Restaurant.

In the afternoon, our Expedition Leader Conrad Combrink provided insight into itinerary and product development in a very interesting talk followed by an introduction to the Prince Albert II itineraries for 2010 and 2011.

The afternoon had been both relaxing and informative, with opportunities to spend time at lectures and on deck. At teatime I had a nice talk with some guests.

Later we all needed time to shower and change into “casual elegance” for the 7.30pm Venetian Dinner (the Venetian Society consists of returning Silversea guests). And after lingering over a rather special dinner with plenty of lively conversation, we adjourned to the Panorama Lounge to continue our evening, accompanied by the smooth sounds of Lou on the piano.