Day 16 |
Jan 05, 2010

Drake Passage

By Franz Bairlein, Ornothologist

Weather: very rough sea at night, raining by morning then moderate calm with overcast, partly clear around lunchtime, then overcast again but windy; the sea increased late afternoon and got rather rough at around midnight.

At around 7 am the Prince Albert II passed 62°00'S heading northbound to Ushuaia, and we passed a rather severe ride of waves as well. Last night, the sea was very rough and many guests, and I as well, were challenged quite a bit from the high swell.

Quite a few birds, mainly Cape petrels, Antarctic prions, Southern Fulmars and Giant petrels followed the ship, but only few guest were on the outer decks due to weather conditions and due to the fact that two interesting lectures were presented in The Theatre in the morning. Both were attended by quite a good number of guests. The first was given by Victoria Salem on 'Amundsen the Sportsman, Scott the Hero?' and she compared both explorers with regard to their characters, aims and ways of conducting their expeditions to the South Pole. At the end, both explorers could be seen as “winners”, Amundsen because he won the race to the South Pole, and Scott because he and his team lost their life for the nation.

The other lecture was given by me on 'Fascination Wanderers: Principles of Bird Migrations'. In this talk I gave an overview of how we can explore the migration routes of birds, about the innate migratory mechanisms, and how we may even benefit as man from the knowledge of the physiological adaptations of migratory bird species.

After lunch, I joined the photo recap by our photographer, Kristine Hannon, in which she presented photos and videos of the first part of our voyage, namely from landings on the Falklands and on South Georgia, respectively.

Following the daily Afternoon teatime gathering in the Panorama Lounge, I attended the wine tasting seminar, the second during our cruise, though not taking part in it but discussing with guests various questions regarding bird migration.

At 19:00 Captain Peter Stahlberg invited us to his Farewell Cocktail Party in The Theatre, where he thanked his crew, which was much applauded by the guests.

For the Captain's Farewell Dinner at 19:30 I had the honor to be invited by the Chief Engineer, Dimitar Nikolov, to join his table, together with two guest couples from Spain and The Netherlands, respectively.