Wind and weather are always big news here. Sometimes the wind is stronger, sometimes it takes a rest. Never fully gone, never blowing up to a real storm. Earlier today, it was a bit stronger again, 25-30 knots (force 6-7), later it calmed down again. When we have more wind, the sails yield a good benefit and then we steer manually, which makes being on watch much more interesting. Currently, being on watch means just watching out for potential pieces of drifting glacier ice (growlers and bergy bits), but we haven’t seen any of their likes yet.
But it can’t be far. We have crossed the Antarctic Convergence (the oceanographic-biological boundary to Antarctica) and the 60th parallel (the political boundary to Antarctica) yesterday. The South Shetland Islands are within 40 nautical miles now. We should be able to see them if the clouds were a bit higher, but it is not clear enough for that distance.
The main attraction today were clearly the Orcas! There was a small pod around mid-day, clearly curious about us, as they came all close to the ship, one by one. An amazing view how they surfaced from the big waves to disappear again a few moments later! Great fun unless you are a penguin or something else on their menue.
Birdlife was a bit limited until recently, but now, we have got Cape petrels and Southern fulmars, indicating the presence of land not too far way. Tomorrow we should have our first opportunity to step on antarctic ground, and it is safe to say that we are all looking forward to that!
Gallery – Drake-Passage – 20 January 2018
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