Tuesday, 9 November 2010

At the top end of the Scotia Sea

We are skimming the top edge of the Scotia Sea on our way from the Falkland Islands to South Georgia. The day was grey and rainy, which made seabird and whale watching a little difficult from the decks. The brave ones made it out, though, and were rewarded (see below). As we move east-southeast we are getting closer to the Antarctic convergence and hour by hour the air is getting chillier. Tomorrow we might see our first ice at sea, as we pass by Shag Rocks and pass over the Antarctic convergence, where warmer waters to the north meet the icy waters of the Last Continent.

Despite the rain throughout the day we observed several seabird species and several pods of dolphins. A seabird highlight of the day was great views of Light-mantlled Sooty Albatrosses as they cruised by the ship. These are amazing albatrosses, coloured as they are with various shades of grey to almost black on the head, and topped off with a wonderful white eye-ring. This species breeds in South Georgia and we can imagine these individuals coming out to welcome us to their home!
Overnight we had a new visitor to the ship- a stowaway in a sense. A diving-petrel landed on the deck sometime last night and we found him or her this morning. The bird was in good condition although a little damp, so standard procedure dictates that we put the bird in a box and keep it cool and dry for perhaps one hour before release. This worked very well and our young ornithologist on board, Tristan Wiese successfully released the bird off the stern of deck 7. It was great to see it fly strongly from the ship.

The Fashion Show is a tradition onboard, and we had ours tonight. It is a chance for all the crew members, including the Captain, and expedition staff to become extroverts and model the beautiful clothing we have in our gift shop.