Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Last day, Long-lasting memories

Crossing the Drake Passage
photos by Lisa Andersson

We had a bouncy ride northbound across the Drake Passage and in the offshore waters as we approached southern South America. Through the night and during the day, the winds were generally from the west-north-west and blowing between 16 and 20 meters per second or 38 to 46 miles per hour. On the Beaufort scale this is number 8, gale strength. Those of us at breakfast watched the graceful gliding of Wandering Albatrosses and Black-browed Albatrosses.

In the early evening the Fram transited the continental rise and we were in the shallower waters of the South American continental shelf. Here the ocean waves were a bit steeper and closer together but soon all this was behind us as the Fram entered the protected passage east of Navarino Island. Soon we will enter the Beagle Channel and pick up our Argentine pilot. The pilot is expected to board at 0200 or 2pm on the 15th and we will then proceed to the pier in Ushuaia.

On the Fram today we had eight lectures, four in English and four in German. The topics ranged from the geo-politics of Antarctica, to Cape Horn and the Southern Ocean with its seals, cormorants and krill.
Just before dinner we all gathered in the Panorama Lounge for a farewell salute led by Captain Andreassen. The ships officers, plus the Expedition Staff were joined by many of the crew members. Among the crew members were the polarCirkel boat drivers, the housekeeping staff and of course the galley crew, many of whom we never see. All did their part and more to make this an unforgettable trip.
The ships auction followed the farewell salute. This is a charity event and the funds raised by auctioning the items are divided among several worthwhile organizations among them the South Georgia Heritage Trust and the Save the Albatross Foundation. The last item auctioned was the Captains master chart of our voyage. The winning bidder took home a permanent reminder of our outstanding trip to Antarctica and our crossing of the Antarctic Circle.

The top bidders with their extra item
photo by Lisa Andersson