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Previous Log

01/17/2009

At Sea

By morning, the Prince Albert II was just over 50 miles east of Cape Horn, and the movement of the ship began to subside as the South American continent created a lee from the swell. We awoke to a very special morning announcement over the PA system, given this time by impersonator extraordinaire, Sam Prouty. An entourage of albatrosses and petrels circled back and forth in our wake as we ate breakfast, gliding right past the window as we sipped our tea and gobbled our eggs.

Geologist Ralph Eshelman presented the first lecture of the day entitled, “Cape Horn: Gateway to the Southwest Passage”. Ralph told the story of European exploration of this area, from Magellan’s discovery of the strait that bears his name to Sir Francis Drake who was the first to realize that a great body of water lay south of Tierra del Fuego. Ralph also spoke of the Fuegian Indians who lived here when Europeans first arrived, and told us that Cape Horn was actually named for a town in the Netherlands (called “Hoorn”) from where the Dutch ship Unity sailed. This ship and others were part of the Dutch effort to find a new route west to boycott the monopoly of having to travel through the Strait of Magellan. It was a fascinating presentation, which gave us a better appreciation for all the ships which attempted to “round Cape Horn”.

The final enrichment lecture of the trip was Historian Tim Baughman’s “Amundsen: the last Viking”. Tim provided a complete biography of Roald Amundsen, from his youth all the way through his illustrious career as a polar explorer. He was the first person to see both the North and South Poles and, though not a scientist himself, he understood that incorporating science into his expeditions would greatly increase their value to humanity. His meticulous planning abilities and his understanding of the value of using dogs in polar transportation greatly contributed to his success. Tim’s expert storytelling really brought Amundsen to life in our minds.

Following lunch, we met Cruise Director Nadia Eckhardt for a disembarkation briefing to find out all that we needed to know about our travel plans once we leave the Prince Albert II tomorrow morning. Packing, luggage tags and rummaging through the lost and found kept us busy during the afternoon, only interrupted by an occasional wander outside to bid farewell to the albatrosses and giant-petrels. We then met in the theater for Final Expedition Community Voices, where we shared stories and feelings about the trip, and worked towards understanding how this journey will impact us for the rest of our lives.

Sport coats and dresses were pulled one last time from the closets for Captain Peter Stahlberg’s Farewell Cocktail Party. The Captain gave us his overview of the trip, and thanked his crew for all of their hard work. We then headed into dinner, taking full advantage of the opportunity to eat Chef Sean Emsley‘s delicious food one more time.

This was followed by the Mars/Hotchkiss Expedition Slide Show, a collection of images taken by the Expedition Team and Bob French during the trip, and deftly compiled and arranged by Marine Biologist Charley Wheatley. The photos really helped to tie the trip together for us, reminding us of all we’ve seen and done over the past three weeks. We then gathered in the Panorama Lounge for a dance party that rivaled our New Year’s Eve in Puntarenas. Staff, faculty, students, friends and family were all well represented on the floor, with tunes spun by DJ Tony Fresch.

The final days of this expedition have been dominated by reflection and celebration. We have reached the end of our exploration of the Patagonia, South Georgia and Antarctica. These are special places beyond description, both extremely powerful and fragile at the same time. With all that we have experienced and learned, we can return home with a new found knowledge of how special the Antarctic is, and how important it is to protect it for future generations.
 

At Sea

By morning, the Prince Albert II was just over 50 miles east of Cape Horn, and the movement of the ship began to subside as the South American continent created a lee from the swell. We awoke to a very special morning announcement over the PA system, given this time by impersonator extraordinaire, Sam Prouty. An entourage of albatrosses and petrels circled back and forth in our wake as we ate breakfast, gliding right past the window as we sipped our tea and gobbled our eggs.

Geologist Ralph Eshelman presented the first lecture of the day entitled, “Cape Horn: Gateway to the Southwest Passage”. Ralph told the story of European exploration of this area, from Magellan’s discovery of the strait that bears his name to Sir Francis Drake who was the first to realize that a great body of water lay south of Tierra del Fuego. Ralph also spoke of the Fuegian Indians who lived here when Europeans first arrived, and told us that Cape Horn was actually named for a town in the Netherlands (called “Hoorn”) from where the Dutch ship Unity sailed. This ship and others were part of the Dutch effort to find a new route west to boycott the monopoly of having to travel through the Strait of Magellan. It was a fascinating presentation, which gave us a better appreciation for all the ships which attempted to “round Cape Horn”.

The final enrichment lecture of the trip was Historian Tim Baughman’s “Amundsen: the last Viking”. Tim provided a complete biography of Roald Amundsen, from his youth all the way through his illustrious career as a polar explorer. He was the first person to see both the North and South Poles and, though not a scientist himself, he understood that incorporating science into his expeditions would greatly increase their value to humanity. His meticulous planning abilities and his understanding of the value of using dogs in polar transportation greatly contributed to his success. Tim’s expert storytelling really brought Amundsen to life in our minds.

Following lunch, we met Cruise Director Nadia Eckhardt for a disembarkation briefing to find out all that we needed to know about our travel plans once we leave the Prince Albert II tomorrow morning. Packing, luggage tags and rummaging through the lost and found kept us busy during the afternoon, only interrupted by an occasional wander outside to bid farewell to the albatrosses and giant-petrels. We then met in the theater for Final Expedition Community Voices, where we shared stories and feelings about the trip, and worked towards understanding how this journey will impact us for the rest of our lives.

Sport coats and dresses were pulled one last time from the closets for Captain Peter Stahlberg’s Farewell Cocktail Party. The Captain gave us his overview of the trip, and thanked his crew for all of their hard work. We then headed into dinner, taking full advantage of the opportunity to eat Chef Sean Emsley‘s delicious food one more time.

This was followed by the Mars/Hotchkiss Expedition Slide Show, a collection of images taken by the Expedition Team and Bob French during the trip, and deftly compiled and arranged by Marine Biologist Charley Wheatley. The photos really helped to tie the trip together for us, reminding us of all we’ve seen and done over the past three weeks. We then gathered in the Panorama Lounge for a dance party that rivaled our New Year’s Eve in Puntarenas. Staff, faculty, students, friends and family were all well represented on the floor, with tunes spun by DJ Tony Fresch.

The final days of this expedition have been dominated by reflection and celebration. We have reached the end of our exploration of the Patagonia, South Georgia and Antarctica. These are special places beyond description, both extremely powerful and fragile at the same time. With all that we have experienced and learned, we can return home with a new found knowledge of how special the Antarctic is, and how important it is to protect it for future generations.
 

   

Our last day at sea and a chance to photograph albatross and petrels from the back deck

The islands of Tierra Del Fuego appeared on the horizon in the early afternoon

Cruising up the Beagle Channel towards Ushuaia in the early evening

Captain Peter Stahlberg thanking his crew for a job well done at the farewell cocktail party

Farewell wishes from our expedition team


Previous 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.

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