Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Scotia Sea, southward

Today we continued our southward journey en route to the South Orkney Islands. During the morning our passengers attended lectures on several Antarctica-related topics, such as whaling, geopolitics, Shackleton, etc.

Those hardy souls that did not attend the lectures were out on deck experiencing the bracing breezes and enjoying avian acrobatics. These feathered acrobats in particular indicated that we are in fact heading south, because they are truly antarctic birds: in addition to Cape petrels and Southern giant petrels, we admired snow petrels and Antarctic prions.
The afternoon lectures were interrupted several times by the spouts of distant whales around the ship. We definitely identified a fin whale by its large dorsal fin and the shape of the blow.If any further proof of the southerly course of our vessel was needed, we sighted several tabular icebergs floating on the horizon. These large behemoths of ice are broken off the iceshelves of the Antarctic continent, and drift around at the whim of wind, wave and current.