Days 15, 16, and 17
February 6th, 7th, and 8th
3 Days at Sea
We left South Georgia and are sailing toward Antarctica. The seas weren’t calm and the waves were crashing against the ship. We were “rocking and rolling”! On Tuesday, February 6th we attended educational presentations. Jimmy, a marine biologist, did a talk about the whales that can be found in the Southern ocean. He informed us that we would be seeing more whales as we visit the Antarctic peninsula area!
D.J., our geologist, gave his presentation on “Caps, Bergs, and Bits”.
Later in the day, Nicky, our ship photographer, did an informative session on photography techniques. The last presentation of the day was by Burty, our historian, on “Missing Continent: The Discovery of Antarctica”. We really appreciated all the education the expedition team offered during our trip.
Before dinner we had our daily recap and briefing.
Over night and into tomorrow we’ll be experiencing strong winds and swells! So, hold on tight. The rule of thumb is to always have one hand on the ship. It’s definitely necessary from our experience earlier in the trip!
Wednesday, February 7th was our second day at sea. It’s very windy and the outside decks are closed due to the high swells! The wind was blowing 70 mph and gusts were up to 115 mph! (No wonder we had trouble staying in our bed!) By late afternoon, the wind had died down and the decks were opened again.
After breakfast, Miko, a marine biologist, presented “The Land of the True Seals- Seals of Antarctica”. He explained all about the various seals in Antarctica. Later in the morning, Mike, our Glaciologist, gave his presentation “Ice Sheets- The icing on the Cake”.
We had a second Bio-security procedure to prepare for our excursion activities in the Antarctic Peninsula. Our outer layers and backpacks needed to be checked to make sure they were clean. If not the expedition team would vacuum any debris so we don’t carry any foreign substance on land. They are very protective of keeping any invasive species of any sort getting added. We all need to be ambassadors to help protect Antarctica. Ali, our expedition leader, announced that we needed to put on our parkas and go out on the decks to see a large tubular iceberg that was over 2 miles long!
Sam, our ornithologist, did a presentation about the penguins in the Antarctic Peninsula, “The Brush-tails- Penguins of the Antarctic Peninsula”.
On Day 17, Thursday, February 8th, we got up at 2:50 AM to get dressed and go out on deck to see B15T.
This iceberg is 32 miles long and 8 miles wide! All we could see in the dark was its shadow in the distance!
This morning we had a ship cruise at Pt. Wild on Elephant Island. Earnest Shackleton and his crew landed on Elephant Island, 497 days after leaving South Georgia! Their ship, the Endurance, had sunk after being crushed by the ice. They used their lifeboats to try to sail and Elephant Island is where they ended up. Some of his men stayed when he sailed. He eventually rescued the 22 men that stayed at Pt. Wild. It’s amazing that none of the men died.
We were still out on deck watching for whales. We saw fin whales! We were all excited!
Sam, our ornithologist, did a presentation on krill and the Antarctic ecosystems, predators, and climate change. It was interrupted by Orca sightings. We all went out on the decks. He finished his presentation later!
We are seeing a lot of icebergs as we approach the Antarctic Peninsula!
This afternoon we spent some time on the bridge and we saw some fin whales again. Mike, the glaciologist, spoke about “Ice Shelves- The Plug in the Bathtub” and D.J. talked about “Weather Climate and the Antarctic Peninsula”. He gave a lot of suggestions for ways to become active in preventing the negative changes happening in Antarctica.
Every afternoon the ship’s food staff set out a table that was full of sweets and sandwiches for “Afternoon Tea”! It was quite elaborate. Having to eat gluten free, the staff always took care of me and had a separate plate that was covered in wrap and clearly marked gluten free.
We are looking forward to tomorrow when we will be exploring off the ship!