Previous Log
Next Log

02/19/2009

Drake Passage

Many of us slept like logs, having been gently rocked to sleep by the ship’s movement the night before. We awoke to a new world, one filled with a view of ocean in all directions, and our first glimpses of albatrosses careening in the ship’s wake. The South American continent was now far behind us, and sipping coffee on the back deck was a great way to take it all in.

Our day began with a hearty breakfast, and then the opportunity to exchange our parkas for better-fitting ones, and to borrow rubber boots if we had not brought our own. Ornithologist Rich Pagen gave the first lecture of the day entitled “Seabirds at sea: Ambassadors of the Southern Ocean”. Rich highlighted some of the species we would see out in the open ocean and told stories of their amazing long distance travel abilities, including the fact that some species regularly circumnavigate the entire globe between nesting seasons! He spoke of how introduced predators on their remote breeding islands and the accumulation of plastic in the world’s oceans are threatening their existence. Rich presented beautiful photos that made us all want to spend every waking moment out on deck, in the hope of catching a glimpse of some of these striking birds.

Photo Enrichment Coach David Salmanowitz gathered beginner and professional photographers alike into the Darwin lounge for his talk, “Photography in Antarctica – What to expect and how to prepare”. He covered everything from protecting our camera equipment from unpredictable weather, to understanding how to best deal with the challenging lighting situations that are the norm in Antarctica. We left feeling both empowered and excited to go out and capture that perfect shot.

After a relaxing lunch and a bit of a nap, we headed out on deck to enjoy the glorious sunshine and calm winds. Some of us walked the Promenade deck for a bit of a leg stretch, while others gathered along the stern railing to practice their seabird identification or grabbed a chair to get lost in a book. The yellow jackets of the Expedition Staff were ubiquitous and we stopped to ask questions about the birds flying past the ship, or to just introduce ourselves.

Following afternoon tea, we met Historian David Wilson for his talk entitled, “Blubber, blubber, oil and trouble”. David went through the relationship of humans to the Antarctic, starting with the first guess that a southern continent might exist, all the way up to the modern day workings of the Antarctic Treaty. Each chapter in history gave us an appreciation for the tremendous unknowns that explorers faced, and David’s rundown of the derivations of many of the place names in the Antarctic really made tangible for us the incredible human history in this stark and unforgiving part of the world.

We then all donned our Sunday best and met Captain Giovanni Biasutti and many other members of the ship’s staff in the main lounge for the Welcome Aboard Cocktail Party, carefully swaying back and forth with the ship as we mingled over champagne. The Captain announced a competition for spotting the first iceberg of the trip, and gave us permission to come up and visit his officers on the bridge. He then introduced his staff and it became clear that, just like those of us traveling as passengers, the crew has a very international flare. We all had a very enjoyable evening that was rounded off by a superb gala dinner
 

   

Comfortable boots are an Antarctic necessity!

Parka experts, Juan and Ralph, outfit our new guests with a smile.

Several of the largest of albatross follow our ship through the morning.

We have balmy weather for time on the Pool Deck sunning ourselves and watching the seabirds.

Our bar staff prepares a toast to King Neptune and the weather for Captain Giovanni Biasutti's Welcome Cocktail


Previous Log Next Log

* Please Note: Daily cruise logs are posted each day based on communications and log entries received from the vessel. We will strive to keep the cruise log's updated daily, however, communications are dependent on internet connection and delays may occur due to communication interruptions and other variables outside of A&K's control. Your patience is appreciated.