Monday, 13 February 2012

Calm Drake allows for bridge visits, lectures and waffles

The notorious Drake has so far been kind to us on this (northbound) passage across the southern latitudes, sometimes referred to as the Screaming Sixties and the Furious Fifties. Numerous Cape Petrels are playing just above our bow wave, and the whales are still saluting us with their occasional blows on both sides of the vessel. This evening, albatrosses appeared around the ship again, they accompanied us as we comfortably sat to contamplate the ocean while thinking of our nearly finished adventure once again.

Our Safety Officer, Jann Olav Hansen, showing the most important machine

This full but quiet day at sea, with no landings, gave Captain Rune the opportunity to receive visitors at the bridge of the «Fram» and show off his high tech German-made electronics and demonstrate the modern steering of this rudder-less vessel. He explained how the two main propellers could be turned 360 degrees in an instant and take the «Fram» in any direction he wanted, providing high maneuverability among the many icebergs that we have negotiated on this trip. However, Rune maintains that the most important piece of equipment on the «Fram» is the coffee machine on the bridge.

The Expedition Team offered a number of lectures today in English, German and Scandinavian, with topics ranging from Wandering Albatrosses and Ernest Shackleton's incredible expeditions, to Antarctic politics as well as Darwin's legacy. In the Panorama Lounge, Elmer made a large stacks of waffles that he offered to his guests with jam, whipped cream, and Norwegian brown goat cheese. After the many landings and hikes in Antarctica, we gladly accepted the extra tasty calories.

Elmer preparing the most tasty waffles on deck 7