This expedition is keeping to its need for flexibility. We arrived at Elephant Island at about 6 am this morning to find it shrouded in heavy fog and a 30 knot wind blowing from the north west. We stopped for a half hour and ddecided that it was not good enough to launch zodiacs and there was no point in hanging around. We could not see anything in the fog and the east coast of the island is iced in. Instead, of our planned visit, we set sail straight to the Antarctic Peninsular. This means that we now have three straight days at sea, but we will have an extra day to spend in Antarctica.
There is another advantage in doing this and that is the winds are forecast to increase significantly over the next day or so, because of a very strong weather pattern across a broad area of the Southern Ocean. Winds south of Ushuaia have been reported as being as high as 55 knots and apparently all the ships in the area are running for shelter to deep bays along the peninsular. The only creatures that seem comfortable with this weather are the whales.
At some time this afternoon, the wind changed to the south and the temperature instantly dropped to -3C. There are icicles on the outside handrails and while the sea is still smooth enough, it is bitterly cold outside. It will get better as we find sheltered waters in the northern end of the Antarctic Peninsular, but it is no place to be outside tonight.
Towards dusk, we came across an enormous tabular iceberg that had blown across from the Weddell Sea. It must have been over a mile long (and wide) and rose out of sea, perhaps 100 metres high. It had snow drifts blowing form its top surface and big waves pounding its base.