Tuesday 12 February 2013

Drake Passage and Cape Horn

The foggy weather of yesterday was replaced today with mostly blue skies.  Elegant albatross sailed in the air around the ship.  Some would say that the Wandering Albatross is the most majestic bird in all of the oceans of the world.  I would tend to agree.  Throughout the day we were accompanied by these stately sea birds.
We were scheduled to arrive at Cape Horn at 15:00 but with the near perfect sea conditions we were a mere 1.5 nautical miles off the most infamous nautical landmark in the southern ocean by 14:00.  With todays great visibility we could clearly see the statue that was erected in memory of all of the sailors that lost their lives when rounding the Horn.

 As usual on our north bound Drake Passage days we filled the day with bridge visits and lectures. And as now is the custom on board Fram we held our charity auction in the Observation Lounge at 16:00.  $2000 USD was raised which will go towards the charities; Bird Life International, Falkland Islands Conservation, The South Georgia Heritage Trust and The Antarctic Heritage Trust.

In the early evening Dominic previewed the superb images he has been taking throughout the expedition in the Framheim Hall. 

Our grand adventure to Antarctica was coming to completion.   We had, it seemed, experienced a little bit of everything.  We experienced the raw nature of the South Shetland Islands and explored all the way south of the Antarctic Circle. Countless times we were surrounded by ice.  We witnessed icebergs in all shapes and sizes. We saw majestic landscapes that filled our minds with wonder.  We encountered Humpback, Minke and Fin Whales, six species of penguins and four species of seals and several encounters with Antarctic Fur Seals.  Our experiences are too many to list but this had certainly been an experience of a lifetime that none of us will ever forget.