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Day 3 - December 1, 2009 - Deception Island, Antarctica

By Stefan Kredel, Geologist

Co-ordinates: 60°52’43”S, 58°37’41”W
Weather: snowing
Air Temperature: -3,4°C

It was probably not the best idea that some guests asked yesterday what is all the fuss about the Drake. Just because she was a bit calmer than usual, you shouldn’t ask for it. Not that I am superstitious, but...

Probably I better explain what the “Drake” is. The “Drake” is the short name for the Drake Passage which is the ocean passage between South America and the Antarctic Peninsula and well known to be (one of) the most stormy ocean world wide. She was named after Sir Francis Drake, a former British explorer.

So without wanting to be superstitious, which I am usually not at all, I was absolutely sure why it started at about two o’clock this morning to bump and roll! Someone screamed for it….

So the second half of my night was a bit like sleeping in an elevator that couldn’t decide to go to the first or second floor and that changed every three seconds the direction.

When I then went to the Bridge, it was the first time that I actually saw the sea. We had about 5 to 6 meters wave height, I would guess. No wonder that the Prince Albert II was moving a bit. And to be honest, for those waves she was behaving pretty well. But that was obviously also due to that Captain Peter Stahlberg and his bridge officers had reduced the speed quite a bit.

This morning we had the “Bio Security Checks” for our guests scheduled. Here we inspected all the gear of our guests that they intend to use ashore. And when it was not clean, it was washed or vacuumed. The idea of this is to avoid bringing any seeds or other stuff into the fragile environment of Antarctica.

As we inspected every guest’s gear on an individual basis, we called them by decks to avoid long waiting times for them. And to entertain the guests who still had to wait or had already finished their checks, Victoria Salem was nice enough to give twice her talk about Sir Ernest Shackleton, whom she questioned to be the “the Greatest Explorer of the Antarctic Heroic Age?”. As I was busy with the “Bio Security Check” I couldn’t attempt the talks, but as I know Victoria, I guess she answered this question with a clear “No”.

At 15:00 I listened to the talk about Climate Change form Claudia Holgate. It was quite interesting as between us, we have fairly different opinions on that topic.

At teatime it was the topic – the climate change. And even Captain Peter Stahlberg agreed that at least since yesterday, we experienced quite a climate change in the Drake. He also announced that he just changed course and that we should be soon under the land protection of the South Shetland Islands. And half an hour later the ship became more stable. I guess a lot guests were more than happy with that decision, and didn’t care about the about the extra 40 nautical miles, and the extra time it would take to arrive at our first destination in Antarctica.

We heard more about where the first landing for us was planed during the Recap & Briefing in The Theatre. Our Expedition Leader Conrad explained to us the plans for tomorrow, but he also pointed out, that this is only a plan and all depends on the wind, wave and ice conditions. Anyhow, the plan was to do a morning landing at Brown Bluff in the Antarctic Sound, which would be also a landing on the Antarctic mainland and for that for a lot for our guests, their last “missing” continent.

After Conrad’s briefing it was Recap time and I asked the guests to ask any questions. And there where quite some – about the ice, the mineral resources, the political claims and so on, which my colleagues and I answered. It was nice, as it was a lively discussion.

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