Thursday 4 February 2010

The Wind Goes Round and Round

Think about it: the Southern Ocean is the only place on earth where the wind can whip around 360º of the planet totally unimpeded. Well perhaps not totally unhindered. Our gallant ship Fram is out here bouncing merrily along heading south. Surely the wind notices. And as the wind cyclones around and around, it pushes water, building waves and lifting albatrosses.
The wind blew harder and the waves grew higher steadily through the morning.
I think one could come up with a formula using the number of empty seats in the dining room to accurately determine sea states and Beaufort scale. Today was between force 7 and 8 for much of the day. A comfy ride for those used to it. A long time riding the bunk for those who haven't yet found their sea legs.
While some of us may not be completely comfortable out here on the Drake, the many soaring albatrosses that attended the ship were in their element.
At 10:00 we joined the expedition team on the stern deck 7 to admire true masters of the southern wind, Wandering and Royal Albatrosses. We also saw many other seabirds including Slender-billed Prions, Wilson's Storm Petrels, White-chinned Petrels and Giant Petrels.
There were lectures throughout the day. In the evening many of us enjoyed an epsiode of the fabulous Blue Planet nature documentary series.
We are all excited contemplating the possibility of our first landing tomorrow at Half Moon Island!