Expedition update #3
Day 1 – Boarding the ship and the Beagle channel
We boarded the vessel Ocean Endeavour (Bahamas Registry) from Ushuaia to set sail through the Beagle channel. As I walked to the ship, laden down with bits and pieces that did not fit into my large travel bag, I passed by a hut in the harbour which was playing the song “Take on me” by Aha! It made me think that Antarctica was was calling for us to go to her and take her on – not as an opponent but to help and support in keeping her untouched! 🙂
As we departed the sun shone brightly and we waved goodbye to the port of Ushuaia and the famous Martial Glacier. Around ten minutes into the journey a rainbow came to join the party – we were finally on our way South.
I spent a lot of time on deck watching two wandering Albatross (the biggest of the Albatross) and two giant Petrels. These birds spend most of their life at sea. As they are heavy birds, they use the wind to their advantage by wooing and gliding perpendicular to the wind. This means they rarely have to flap their wings and can conserve energy. They followed the ship for long intervals as the ship stirs up crustaceans that the birds can feed on.
Around midnight we exited the Beagle channel. We were now into open water and no longer protected by the land on either side of the channel. We entered what is known as the Drake Passage and it is one of the most dangerous stretches of water and is notorious for having large swells and storms. We sailed past Cape Horn and now we were on our own. We would stay in t he Drake passage for 3 whole days travelling approximately 600 miles to the Antarctic peninsula.
Day 2 – The Drake passage
The weather patterns showed a large storm following us from a North Westerly direction so the captain set a course to try and outrun it. The swells in the ocean can make you stagger from side to side and it is essential that you hold on whilst walking around or undoubtedly you would end up flat on your back! The ship is travelling at approx 13 knots per mile and the captain is confident we can outrun the storm. This is apparently a calm Drake passage!!
At around 3pm today we entered the Antarctic convergence zone. We know this as the temperature dropped about 3 degrees and fog began to form. It stretches as far North as the South Georgia Islands. It is a wiggly line, and inside this line you can find all of the Antarctic animals. In summer this line looks very far from the Antarctic coastline. In winter the ice surrounding Antarctica spreads out towards the convergence zone and Antarctica almost doubles in size.
It is March 2nd and and we are sailing south towards the west side of the Antarctica peninsula. From there we will continue south towards the Antarctic circle which we hope to cross on Saturday morning (Antarctica time)
Thank you for following,