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Day 9 - January 23, 2011 -  Drake Passage en route to Ushuaia 

By by Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist

 

Co-ordinates:
Weather: Partly cloudy skies
Air Temperature: 7ºC
Sea Temperature: 6ºC
Pressure: 980 hPa
Wind: 40-45 knots


Sunshine coming through my window today. I just love the glory and might of a furious ocean shining in bright light! Those incredible seabirds -albatrosses and petrels- dancing to the howling winds at steady force 9 -a strong gale- never cease to awe me. That is what the world looked like out there when I got up today.

A leisurely breakfast followed by a history lecture by Christian Walter, aka Rapa Nui, entitled “Frank Hurley”. A portrait of the Australian photographer of the Endurance Expedition, led by Sir Ernest Shackleton. A voyage through the life of Hurley, his world travels and photographs.

Right after lunch I gave my “Geology Rocks” presentation – a 101 on Geology, where I talk about the origin of earth, types of rock and plate tectonics, leading to the mostly partial understanding of the geological intricacies of the Scotia Sea and the Antarctic continent.

Soon after my talk, Professor Alex Filippenko, a renowned astronomer and guest on this voyage, gave a most interesting lecture on Astrology and the theories about our expanding universe.

The seas were much calmer as we came behind Cape Horn and the islands provided for us protection from the swell and winds. The decks were open again and many of our guests enjoyed the fresh air and beautiful views.

Half an hour later we all met again for a briefing by Expedition Leader Robin West on the plans for tonight and tomorrow. Things have changed now that we had just escaped a much larger storm that right now is tearing through Cape Horn.

The Captain and his officers did a superb job in getting us into sheltered waters right on time. Thanks to that, we will remain at anchor until tomorrow when we will expect a pilot to lead us into Ushuaia. We will then have an overnight stay before disembarkation on the 25th.

Immediately after Robin’s briefing, Luke Kenny enlightened us about the fisheries taking place around the Antarctic and Southern Oceans.

Before dinner, and now that we are enjoying the peace and quiet of being at anchor, all our guests dressed up elegantly and made their way to The Theatre for the Captain’s Farewell Cocktail. All smiles and positive attitude as we, Expedition Team and guests, engaged in conversation before Captain Oleksander Golubyev introduced his crew and ceremonially wished goodbye to all. The galley and restaurant team then hosted a delicious Gala Dinner as we all looked forward to the prospect of a good night’s sleep in calm waters. 

 

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