World Trip 2012-13: Day 45 – Drake Passage, Antarctica

Saturday 10 November 2012
Highlights : Antarctica Convergence, Captain’s Welcome, Camping demonstration

The sea was smoother today making the challenge of showering a little easier. Despite the smoother conditions at breakfast I felt a little queasy and as a result until lunchtime I took it easy mostly lying down and taking some motion sickness tablets. Weird that I got effected today just when everyone else is getting better, luckily the queasy feeling only lasted a few hours.

During the day we passed the Antarctica Convergence, basically this is where the ocean’s hot and cold currents met each other. From this point onwards it will be much colder. On that front I picked up my Canadian Goose jacket (yes I’m a goose!) which was designed for this climate. My Kathmandu jacket has been doing the trick so far. One of these jackets will make its way home when I arrive in the USA in about 10 days.

Breakfast was on the dining deck which was buffet style offering a very large range but I skipped most of it. The waiters are amazing never dropping anything and walking around without any problems at all. No matter your dietary requirements I believe most people would be well catered for. The lunch buffet was also vast and I will need to be careful not to gain weigh on this ship.

After lunch Kevin Morgan provided a lecture on penguins which close to 100% of passengers attended including one in a penguin costume! These amazing creatures swim extraordinarily fast in the ocean. Most species of penguins mate for life and the genteel penguin, the one we will see the most, have both parents responsible to hunt and feed the chicks.

The next lecture was on photography in the Antarctica and how difficult it is to get the right shot with all the whites and grey clouds. I learnt a few tricks I’ll try hopefully they work. The lecturer Paul Teolis also gave hints on how to frame shots and the need to get down to their level lying on your stomach/ back if necessary. However the best advise was to remember to put down the camera and just take in the scene and to use all your senses, in particular smell and ears.

During the day we also visited the Mud Room which is the room for disembarking for kayaking and zodiac rides / landings. We got allocated our waterproof boots for landings, found our allocated changing area and were tested on the procedures for exiting the ship and using life jackets. You must check out and in of the ship using your card. You must always clean your boots and water proof pants to protect the environment. The landing lecture was clear on not leaving or damaging anything and leaving the wildlife alone.

At 6.30 pm we gathered for Captain Thomas Roder’s formal welcome as we all drank champagne wishing each other well. A select few were invited to the Captain’s table on the dinning deck which to this point at been my preferred table as it offered the best views.

After dinner those going camping were also given a briefing. Our first attempt at camping will be tomorrow night on the mainland itself, this is very rare indeed as much times they camp on an island so fingers crossed it happens. Landings are also scheduled for tomorrow, we are divided into four groups, I’m in the Ross group, Ben and Kurt are in different groups and are also down to try sea kayaking.

Antarctica Photos

About Nathan

A World traveller who has so far experienced 71 countries (76 by June 2023) in this amazing world.
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