Friday, December 30, 2011

Antarctica Day 2: Crossing the Drake Passage

“First view of Antarctica is always an iceberg. It may be a monolith hovering on the horizon, a barely discernible spectre looming out of the mist, or perhaps a sun-spangled, dazzling icon marking the gateway to this new world. It will undoubtedly be icebergs that leave the most lasting impressions on the imagination of visitors”.--- Mark Jones “Wild Ice”

From our itinerary: Named after the renowned explorer, Sir Francis Drake, who sailed these waters in 1578, the Drake Passage also marks the Antarctic Convergence, a biological barrier where cold polar water sinks beneath the warmer northern waters. This creates a great upwelling of nutrients, which sustains the biodiversity of this region. The Drake Passage also marks the northern limit of many Antarctic seabirds. As we sail across the passage, Antarpply Expeditions’ lecturers will be out with you on deck to help in the identification of an amazing variety of seabirds, including many albatrosses, which follow in our wake. The USHUAIA’s open bridge policy allows you to join our officers on the bridge and learn about navigation, watch for whales, and enjoy the view.

The staff told us that when we left the Beagle Channel and entered the Drake Passage the waters would get rougher. I was sleeping soundly, the seas were calm. Then as if the staff knew what he was talking about we left the Beagle channel and crossed into the Drake Passage and we started rocking. I woke up and it was 5:05 a freaking m. I am on vacation for FU** sake!
At our briefing the night before we were told that the weather looked good and when we get into the passage it will be more like the “Drake Lake”. No wind and calm as calm as the passage can be. We were rolling in 1 – 2 metre seas. I find the difference between rolling in the Drake Passage and bouncing around in Pacific on the Navimag is on the Navimag we were getting hit by waves. On the Ushuaia the entire sea seems to be rolling and you can see the swells develop and move towards you.
A good quote From the adventure a director. “I have not seen the Drake this calm, ever in 9 years. You can bet it’s not going to be like this on the way back (big huge shit eating grin). I hope the Drake is more like itself when we cross back in 10 days. Come on Drake you big sissy let’s see how much game you have got.
This was a very casual cruising day and we were kept busy with lectures on Birds, Geography and Penguins. The sun is out and it’s warm so maybe there will be a really nice sunset. Lots of reading and hanging about but I did notice people are starting to have a drink or two. I stood on deck for hours just watching the swells and enjoying the warmth.
Also we are also not going to starve. Food is always available and the bar is reasonably priced so I have that going for me as well.
Tonight’s movie appropriate enough was March of the Penguins

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