Voyage Journal 7103 Day 16


Day 16 - February 9, 2011 - At Sea

By by Ken Knowles, Ornithologist

Co-ordinates: S 59◦15’, W 64º10’
Weather: Overcast
Air Temperature: 4.8C
Pressure: 989
Wind: 76.7 kmC

I was up early to see what the Drake Passage had in store for us today. The swell was moderate enough that I headed out on deck to scan for seabirds. A good stiff breeze can bring some of the rarer birds around the ship and my scanning was rewarded with a classic example of the Southern Royal Albatross. Many of the so-called “Great Albatrosses” go unidentified as to species and it was refreshing to get looks at a textbook examples.

The Restaurant wasn’t as full for breakfast as usual, but this seemed to be more a consequence of late-sleeping guests than of the state of the sea. The first lecture of the day was Uli’s, a look beneath the surface of the sea and into its depths, a rare glimpse of the creatures that live literally under pressure and in complete darkness.

This was followed by Rapa’s fascinating account of the politics of both the discovery and ownership of Antarctica, involving popes, explorers and, of course, politicians.

When crew members appeared in our stateroom to batten down the windows on the lower decks, we knew that the seas were not going to decrease. I was hoping to get in my lecture on the so-called “other” birds of Antarctica before the weather worsened. The weather gods were with me and I was able to summarize the bird sightings from our trip – a more-than-respectable 63 species, with the possibility of more wind-blown species yet to come.

The final Recap of the trip degenerated into a comedy-fest, followed by the one piece of information that guests really wanted – the forecast. It seems that luck is with us again and the foul weather will pass just to the south of our course. Ushuaia, here we come.