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12/08/2009

At sea Drake Passage and Beagle Channel

With our accompanying flock of seabirds, Minerva was approaching Cape Horn, the boundary between Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. We reached our nearest point, 20 nautical miles. We were too far offshore to see the headland of Cape Horn, the graveyard of many ships that failed to 'round the Horn'. There is now a monument on the Cape to the drowned sailors in the form of an albatross.

Sue Trivelpiece, a researcher who we had picked up at Arctowski station, gave a talk about "Life at Copacabana" the incongruously named small research station where she and her husband have been leading a team that has been studying penguins for a number of years. As we approached the Cape, Ralph Eshelman gave a very interesting lecture on the history of ships rounding the tip of South America, from Magellan and Drake to the clippers and windjammers.

After the last lecture of the enrichment programme, Cruise Director Jannie Cloete giving the important, if unwelcome, briefing about the arrangements and procedures that will enable a smooth disembarkation and onward travel after our arrival at Ushuaia.

The last formal gathering was to watch a slide show prepared by the Expedition Staff that recalled many of the highlights of the cruise. We had made landings in the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, South Orkneys, South Shetlands and the Antarctic Peninsula, together with the shipboard experiences of whales, albatrosses and icy landscapes. So much has happened in a short space of time that it took many slides to do the experience justice!

During the afternoon, Minerva came into the shelter of land, steamed back up the Beagle Channel and we docked at Ushuaia around midnight. So ended our cruise to Antarctica. We will leave tomorrow to go our separate ways – perhaps to meet again aboard one day.
 

   

Celebrating a succesful expedition.

Looking at the paintings produced during Peter Welton's seminars.

The island of Tierra del Fuego in the distance.

The prizes for our raffles.

Your Expedition Team.


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