Friday, 16 January 2009

At Sea (Day 2) 05/01/2009

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Day 9 January 5th 2009

When we wake up this morning for our 4 am sea sickness tablet, the sea is lovely and calm. This means we have sailed across the Drake passage (hence passing the Antarctic Convergence) and are in calmer waters. However we are also told that someone was injured in the storm yesterday and as a consequence:

  1. they are going to have to transfer the injured person to another ship somewhere in the vicinity which is going back to Ushuaia; and
  2. our itinerary has been reversed and we are going to work our way down the peninsula rather than up it.

Evidence that the itinerary has changed is on the ship's log display

Revised Course

On the agenda today are lectures of Antarctic Geology; Penguins; the Antarctic Treaty (compulsory) and Zodiac Safety (again compulsory). Apart from that, it seems to be an easy day before the real exploring begins when we get onto the mainland.

The antarctic treaty is a very serious document and controls how visitors to the Antarctic should behave and what they should be allowed to do. This web address provides more information on it - now we have been to Antarctica, we feel far better equiped to understand the treaty and to appreciate its importance (for the techies amongst the readers, the .aq domain means the domain is registered in Antarctica - quite rare). Many of the sites were are going to go to are described at If you have not yet been to Antarctica and are going, the site guidelines are worth printing and taking with you.

The Geology lecture is reasonably interesting, the Penguin lecture is very interesting - we are briefed about the three types of penguins (out of 17) which we might see whilst down here.

Zodiac briefing is relatively straightforward, the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators Treaty briefing makes one realise how privileged we are to be able to come here and how tremendous the wilderness is that we are about to visit. We are also quite firmly told that our respective governments have signed the Antarctic Treaty and that we will be prosecuted by them should we break any of the rules and laws associated with Antarctica. Delivery of these two briefings is taken very seriously and the ships roll is checked against those present to ensure that everyone has attended. If you do not attend, you are not allowed off ship.

We are also given a briefing on "plans" for the rest of the trip although every thing can change at the drop of an iceberg. Icebergs are guaranteed for tomorrow, as is a first trip in a zodiac and then in the afternoon, first land fall. The pleasures of camping are also explained to us - some people had not realised that tents were not allowed because they blow away and that we are sleeping in Bivvy Bags (all the better for seeing the stars we are told although it does not get dark so this seems a bit of a story)

Very calm seas, no sea sickness tablets required.

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