Thursday 16 December 2010

Drake Passage

Like a bookend, the Drake Passage always marks the end of a voyage to Antarctica- in this part of the world anyway. It is water dreaded by many, but is tamer than its reputation. Today- 15 December- is our first day on the Drake after a fabulous 5 days in Antarctica. The day started fairly calm and we completed our bridge visits. There, our captain explained how MS Fram, a state of the art vessel, is operated. Among other interesting facts, we learnt that it is normal procedure, to make depth soundings of uncharted waters – something that was done when we visited Paulet Island a few days ago. Now we have a lot more information to help us navigate the waters close to the colony.

Later in the day, the winds picked up and by evening we were in a full gale with high waves.

Our passengers were also able to see the whole crew in action, as we performed one of our regular safety drills. Today, we simulated a fire on the ship and proceeded as if it was out of control and we had to abandon ship: most of the crew actually donned safety equipment and boarded one of our rescue boats. Safety is something we take very seriously, and these exercises are an important part of our operations.
Towards the end of the evening, we tested the knowledge of our passengers about all things Antarctica, as we held our traditional quiz night – we all had a good time and a big laugh. Congratulations to boat group no. 7.