Tuesday 4 January 2011

One More Sleep

It was a beautiful morning.  High level cirrus and cirrostratus clouds allowed warm rays of sunshine to filter through.  These cloud types are typically found at elevations greater than 20,000 feet and are mostly composed of tiny ice crystals. But as what often happens when warm air and or warm sunshine meets cool surface ocean waters, large pockets of sea fog began to coalesce.  Throughout the afternoon we cruised in and out of fog.  In some respects it reminded me of many New Year's days.

There was hardly a breeze with the result being very calm seas.  A further consequence of low wind was a distinct paucity of sea birds.  Of the few birds we saw, the larger sea birds seemed to struggle to stay aloft. The albatross and petrels are built for soaring not for flapping.  Windless days are flap-full days and if you are an albatross that means lots of extra energy spent whilst foraging.  A bit unusual today were the large numbers of Blue Petrels in the morning.  

The lecture halls were full pretty much all day long.  It means that we have a ship of keeners!  Everyone was eager to absorb as much as they could about the geology, history and wildlife of Antarctica before our scheduled arrival tomorrow afternoon.  For us lecturers on board, it warms our hearts to see so many people eager to learn!
And so we ply our way slowly but surely to the south.  Our adventure in Antarctica lies deep below the horizon.  Tonight we will sleep with visions of penguins, whales, seals and ice dancing in our heads.  One more sleep.