Voyage Journal 7105 Day 10

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Day 10 - March 2, 2011 - At sea

By Claudia Holgate, Climatologist

Co-ordinates: 54º48’S, 68º17’W
Weather: clear to cloudy with slight wind
Air Temperature: 4C
Pressure:992HPa
Wind:19km/h

Today we are in our second day through the Drake Passage, which thus far has been very smooth sailing. This is really great as the Drake has such a bad reputation for being the roughest passage in the world. These guests have been particularly spoilt, however, as both their Drake Crossings have been particularly smooth.

As with most sea days on the Prince Albert II, we had a busy day to look forward to, although we were able to sleep in a bit to recover from our rather hectic land schedule that we had had for the past few days. The first activity for the day was Robin Aiello’s very popular lecture on living and working as a scientist in Antarctica. Aiello (As we all know her) spent a few months diving in the Antarctic and has many funny anecdotes to tell, from sleeping with seals to keep warm to her experiences in the water with Crabeater seals. Where diving gives you “Brain freeze” and only when the pain goes away can you focus on the job at hand. The lecture gives guests a first-hand account of the hardships that scientists experience working in Antarctica, but also the sense of adventure that most of the scientists have and need to be able to do their work.

At 11:30 I gave my climate change lecture, which is always well attended and often quite controversial as there are many different beliefs on the climate change issue. I always try and keep to the facts as we know them and send a positive message across. This group of guests seemed to enjoy the lecture and had many serious and well thought out questions.

Everyone trooped off to lunch after the busy lecture schedule before having most of the afternoon off to give the guests time to pack their bags, as tomorrow they will be leaving us and heading to their respective homes. For me, this was a good time to go out to the back deck and watch the birds as we went through the Beagle Channel on the way to Ushuaia.

At 5pm, Kristine, our on board photographer, gave her presentation of the cruise DVD which is always an emotional video for me to watch. One cannot imagine how much we have seen and done in such a short period of time. In fact one guest commented to me that this trip was a bit like ticking things off a list, we had a continental landing, Minke whales next to the Zodiacs, Humpback whales right next to the ship, Leopard seals, crabeater seals, Weddell seals, Elephant seals, all the penguins, icebergs, the list just goes on. The DVD reminds us of what we have seen and done and is a really good way to finish the trip.

As a finale Robin brought the Expedition Team up on stage to thank them for the work that we had all done and to say our formal farewell, even though we would individually wish all guests Bon Voyage tomorrow when they disembarked the ship.

Of course the day is not complete with out a fabulous dinner in The Restaurant and, if we felt like it, a walk into town to enjoy the fresh air. It is always sad to see guests who have become our friends get ready to leave the ship, but hopefully, as the Captain always says “If they are thinking of another holiday, they will listen to their heart, and their heart will say Prince Albert II

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