Our Staff Captain explains aspects of the Bridge to two guests
Richard Harker provides camera assistance at Reception
The boots await, lined up and ready for action
Artistry from the galley is exhibited on this watermelon
Huge South Atlantic swells crash against Shag Rocks
Le Boreal - January 08, 2012
At Sea, Shag Rocks
Temperature: 37° F
Wind speed: 26 knots
Cloud cover: 30%
With a time change forward the night before, most of us opted for a late breakfast before gathering in The Theater for Ornithologist Patricia Silva's introduction to penguins entitled, "Birds in tuxedos: Why do they look different?". Patricia highlighted some of the species we may encounter on this trip including the Adelies, which march many miles over the sea ice in October to reach the sites of their breeding colonies. It was a very entertaining presentation, and we left eager for our arrival at our next penguin colony in South Georgia.
Out on deck with the Expedition Team, we watched several wandering albatrosses gliding effortlessly in the strong Southern Ocean winds, ducking close to the sea surface before banking high above the water to catch the wind and gain speed. Witnessing their majestic flight under what to us would be very harsh conditions gave us an appreciation for how albatrosses can so easily cover such large distances in search of food.
After a good dose of fresh air, we gathered back in The Theater with Expedition Leader Larry Hobbs and Assistant Expedition Leader Marco Favero for a mandatory briefing about conduct while ashore in South Georgia and Antarctica. The essential aims of this talk were to ensure that our visits there are conducted safely, and that the environment and wildlife are not disturbed by our presence.
After lunch, Le Boreal adjusted her course to bring us within sight of Shag Rocks. Soon the guano-covered rocks were in view, as were the more than 2,000 pairs of nesting blue-eyed shags, which give the rocks their name. Several shags flew directly over our heads, apparently looking down at us with curiosity.
To comply with new biosecurity measures on South Georgia Island, we headed to the Grand Salon to vacuum clothing and backpacks in an effort to remove any plant seeds we may unknowingly be transporting from our travels around Patagonia or the Falklands. We also scrubbed our rubber boots to get rid of any material remaining in the treads, all this to ensure that non-native plants, animals and pathogens aren't inadvertently brought to South Georgia.
We tore ourselves away from watching swarms of prions on the outer deck for Historian Bob Burton's lecture entitled "The island of South Georgia: The jewel in the crown". Bob began with South Georgia's discovery in 1675, followed by Captain Cook's later exploration of the area, which set off the first stage of exploitation that South Georgia has faced that of the seals. Bob took us through the sealing and whaling eras at South Georgia, and then took us through the many steps currently taken to keep fishing in South Georgian waters sustainable. We left the lecture with the hope that we humans can learn from our past mistakes and preserve fisheries both in South Georgia and worldwide.
Before dinner, we met for a Recap with the Expedition Team, where Ornithologist Patricia Silva gave us some background information on the blue-eyed shags we'd seen in the Falklands and at Shag Rocks, and Assistant Expedition Leader Marco Favero talked to us about gliding and flapping flight in birds. Over dinner, we kept one eye out the window looking for our icebergs, and went off to bed early to be well rested for our first day in South Georgia tomorrow.