Voyage Journal 7106 Day 12


Day 12 - March 14, 2011 - At sea

By Claudia Holgate, Climatologist

Co-ordinates: 46º23’S, 20º52’W
Weather: Foggy to partly cloudy

Air Temperature: 13.5

Today was our second of four days at sea after magical South Georgia. After our fantastic four days, which were packed with activity and adventure, we need a few days to recoup our energy and get ready for Tristan De Cunha in a few days time.

When we woke up this morning it was very foggy outside to the extent where we couldn’t see more than about one hundred metres from the ship, this was an indication to me that we were crossing the Antarctic convergence and moving from an area of very cold air and water to much warmer air and water. This line is so discrete that one notices the change in a matter of hours and indeed that is what happened. The outside temperature went from a rather chilly 5 degrees Celsius to a much balmier 13 degrees. We have, thus, officially left the Antarctic behind in our Journey to the Cape of Good Hope.

As with all sea days we have a chance to sleep in a bit and have a leisurely breakfast before the days activities begin at 10am with a lecture by Juan, our Colombian geologist entitled “Ice on the Rocks – The cool world of glaciers”. Juan has a knack of making complex subjects easy to understand and interesting to listen to and this lecture on all different glaciers and how they shape the landscape was no different.

This morning wasn’t particularly good for birding, as with the fog we couldn’t see any birds from the back deck, this did improve slightly though in the afternoon, with Sooty albatross, Soft plumaged petrels, Atlantic petrels and Antarctic Prions being spotted. The Sooty Albatross and Atlantic Petrel are special birds and I only expected to see them when we were much closer to Tristan De Cunha, so we will have to keep our eyes peeled for the next few days to see what is out there.

At 2pm the second installment of “The Last Place on Earth” was screened in the theatre and through to the suites for those who didn’t feel up to coming to Deck 6. This movie recounts the story of the race for the South Pole between Scott and Amundsen, and gives us a really good insight into the emotions and preparations that the two endured before their departure for the pole.

Birding team trivia was on at 4pm, and what fun it was. Will, our Ornithologist, hosted this afternoon’s trivia quiz, which was extremely well attended. His quiz was split into two sections, the first being normal birding questions about the birds we had seen on our cruise, the second section was a play on words and great fun, for example the first questions was “Which bird is a regal Angler” the answer, of course, is the Kingfisher.

Without giving our guests much chance to relax, Hans Peter, our botanist, gave a talk on Cabbage and Pearlwort – Plant life on the Southern end of the earth, where we learnt more about the plants we have seen, as well as some that we will encounter on Tristan de Cunha.

Recap and Briefing was at the usual time of 18h45 and as usual the expedition team pulled interesting and amusing tidbits together. Robin Aiello gave us examples of underwater sounds, Juan had put together a special recap on the Japan earthquake, explaining how it happened and what the consequences of such crustal movement are. I presented one of my favourite videos for a bit of light relief and our guest lecturer, David Guggenheim, spoke on the impact of plastics in the oceans.

The evening was topped off with a fabulous dinner in the restaurant and after dinner drinks to the music of Perry in the panorama lounge, before we all headed off to bed after a full day of onboard activities.