Monday 23 December 2013

During the night the wind and sea conditions increased. At breakfast time Beaufort force 7 conditions, a near gale, with winds up to 15 meters/second or about 33 miles/hour. The wind and waves were coming from a southwest direction. The wind and wave direction did not change but by 1500 or 3PM the winds had increased a bit and we moved up a notch in the Beaufort scale. Overall the FRAM is rolling smoothly and slowly, though the wave heights are about 5 meters or 17 feet. Admiral Francis Beaufort, the hydrographer for the British Navy, systematized the descriptive terms that sailors used and the sea condition that he had observed. In 1838 the Admiralty adopted his zero to 12, that is 13, increasing levels of classification, combining wind and sea conditions. Developed long before the twirling anemometers that we see today measuring wind speed, his Beaufort scale is still in common use on ships crossing the world’s oceans. Admiral Beaufort made another, lesser known, contribution to science, in that he is the person who suggested Charles Darwin as the young gentleman and naturalist who was selected to accompany Captain Robert Fitzroy on the circumnavigation of the Beagle.

Throughout the day the FRAM has been accompanied by seabirds. Today we added Grey-headed Albatrosses and Snow Petrels to the species list of birds skimming beside the FRAM.

Today was a critical day in terms of permission to go ashore. Everyone onboard who intends to go ashore has to complete two forms. First is the required reading and signature of the bio-security notice for all those going ashore on South Georgia. Second is required attendance at the International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) formal briefing on the guidelines and proper behavior in Antarctica.

Our photographer has had a busy day. With Christmas approaching, the entire ships crew was photographed for their Season’s Greetings to all and the ship-board operational department members gathered for more personalized photographs.