Thursday, 12 February 2015

Drake Shake

The sea conditions definitely became worse after the FRAM left Beagle Channel and started its southward transit across Drake Passage toward Antarctica. Many passengers arrive at the FRAM after several airline flights and changing time zones. As a result they are both fatigued and hungry and in completely new surroundings. On-board the FRAM it takes a bit of time to get oriented as to the location of your room and the reception desk and the lecture halls and the dining room. All these issues combine and the today’s breakfast population was a small number.
Sea conditions during today were notable. We had seas between 8 and 9 meters or 25 and 30 feet in height and the wind conditions were in the 20 to 25m/sec or 40 to 45 mph. White capped waves were a common sight as we motored along. The stabilizer wings on the FRAM were in the outward position and they helped smooth the rolling of the ship. Everything considered, most passengers made it to deck 2 to pick up their Hurtigruten wind and waterproof jackets. Larger sizes are better than smaller as polar-fleeces fit underneath and extra arm movement is required when getting in and out of the Polarcirkle boats that take us ashore.

The mandatory IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators) briefing was s scheduled for this morning but was postponed as the sea conditions would have limited the number of passengers in attendance. In the late afternoon we did fit in the English and German briefings that provided information on the extra activities that are offered while the FRAM is in Antarctica.
 Also cancelled was the afternoon fitting for the insulated boots to wear ashore. The “muck-boots” are perfect for our landing conditions as they are high enough not to flood when going ashore and they insulated to keep your feet warm when you are ashore.
Later in the afternoon more people were up and about and 2 optional lectures were given. Dominic the ships photographer provided many helpful tips to protect our cameras from salt water spray and to improve the quality and composition of our photos. We need to be selective when showing our photos to the home crowd. Dom advised us to intersperse photos of shipboard life and landing scenery as friends and family will not sit through dozens of penguin photos.
The day closed with the hopes of calmer sea conditions tomorrow.