Friday 11 December 2009

Drake north, day 1

After leaving the South Shetland Islands last night we headed into the Drake Passage- the body of water that separates the Antarctic Peninsula from the continent of South America. The "Drake" is notoriously rough but very variable and today, she treated us relatively gently. Ships make the 600 nautical mile trip in about 60 hours; we will make the journey a little faster and will arrive in Ushuaia early Sunday morning.

The sun shone for most of the day and we were accompanied bymyriad seabirds, including Cape Petrels (as usual), Antarctic Petrels, Giant Petrels and Southern Fulmars. We also saw a loan skua, and a young Arctic Tern making its way south from the northern hemisphere. In the morning we spied some Humpback Whales moving south to the rich feeding grounds of Antarctica. In the morning the Captain invited passengers to the bridge for a visit. All were impressed with the technological sophistication of the Fram.

In the evening we joined Capt. Andreassen for his traditional farewell Captain's Dinner. It was a fine way to close what was a memorable voyage. Now we start to think about packing, leaving the ship and returning home in time for Christmas.