We have sailed due south all day at steady speed of 13 knots and are still in the Drake Passage. Tonight, we are at 63.54 degrees south. We expect to reach our most southerly point on the Antarctic Peninsular at breakfast time tomorrow and from then on, we have an interesting set of activities planned. We will be travelling back(north) up the peninsular and on to the South Shetlands before returning to Ushuaia on the 4th of February.
I was awake at 6.00 am this morning and was delighted to find that the seas had abated. In fact, they have been very flat all day. I havenâ€™t taken anything for sea sickness all day. I was feeling a little unwell last night and threw up after dinner. Since then I have felt really good – perhaps I needed a vomit explosion to clear the drains. It was certainly much easier to shower and shave this morning with a lot less movement of the ship.
Breakfast was again at 8.00 am and we filled in the morning with more talks from the naturalists on board about the penguins and seals that we expect to see. They have done a good job of preparing us for the next five when we will be amongst them all.
Before lunch, we crossed the Antarctic Conversion – the area where the warm ocean waters meet the cold Antarctic ones. He water here is rich in marine food and we had the joy of seeing a large number of whales. We were all on the bridge and almost every few minutes someone would spot another spout. I am glad hat I bought my small pair of binoculars with me because I was able to get a much closer look. We saw Minkes, Humpbacks and some Southern Right Whales. Overall, I think we saw over forty whales in all. We were interrupted from all this excitement by lunch in the dining room on the 3rd level of the ship.
After lunch, we had two compulsory talks – complete with having our names ticked off on the list. The first was on Zodiac procedures. For the next six days we will be in and out of these boats two or three times per day. The talk ended with us all trying on life jackets to get the right size. Our second talk was on the requirements of visitors in following the Antarctic convention. Very rightly, the tour leaders are very serious in following all the requirements that preserve the pristine wilderness of this place.
We also had an overview of the plans for the land part of the trip. These may be subject to change with the weather etc, but they sound good to me. We will get a variety of whale watching, penguin rookery visiting, walking, camping on the ice and cruising in the ship. I think that we are in for a fantastic time after this long trip to get here. Iâ€™ll keep you well and truly posted!
It is now happy hour and I am sitting in the bar with the drink of the day. Dinner is at 7.30pm and then we have a movie about penguins. We have a three course meal at nights with a choice of one of four main courses. We need to make a choice at lunchtime. Last night we had a screening of â€˜Southâ€™, the movie made by Frank Herlihy on Shackletonâ€™s expedition and the sinking of his ship, the Endurance after being trapped in ice for months. Iâ€™m glad that we wonâ€™t be facing any of those perils!
Iâ€™m really looking forward to the view when I wake up tomorrow morning when we have reached the continent.. We shouldnâ€™t have trouble seeing it – Sunset is at 11.30 pm and sunrise is at 2.20 am.