Sunrise: 03:42 | Sunset: 21:49
Note: the actual writing of this journal happens onboard Hurtigruten's MS Midnatsol ship the same day, but published later
This is the day that everyone on the ship is waiting for. Stepping their feet in the land of ice and wind. For me, i’m just happy of the prospect that the sea swell would eventually subside once we enter the Antarctica peninsula and leaving the drake passage.
I went to bed at 8 pm last night and woke up early at 4-5am, getting ready for the day. To think about it, i feel a bit guilty about how i live my life on the boat. Blame the seasick, the only think i look forward are only breakfast, lunch, dinner, and lay on the bed. Isn’t it the very definition of LAZY?
I enjoyed the class/lecture though (immensely). The lecture and the briefing as well, very much! But all i wanted to do is to neutralise my body position so i don’t feel the swell. And of course, most of the time i drifted to a short sleep short after i lay on the bed. In another word, i only eat and sleep in this boat during the drake passage journey. This is Exactly 180 degree opposite to what i had done two weeks earlier, when i explored Argentina and Chile and when i only slept for 5-6 hours and spent the rest of the day with walking, hiking, and other activities. In conclusion, i’m not really sure what i’m feeling about my life on the boat right now, but i’m trying to enjoy and participate on many classes as i can and learn many things about this frozen continent. But good food and good bed calling! And the seasick! Ugh!
Breakfast went dull, though i enjoyed the meal so much, followed by 11am class titled “being a seabird in Southern Ocean”, where i learned a lot what “seabird” is and where is Southern Ocean.
There are 10,000 bird species and only 3% of them are seabirds. Sea birds are birds that spend almost most of their time on the sea, they feed and rest on the sea, and only go onshore for breeding. Some of the known seabirds are penguins, sea gulls, pelicans, and many others. The presenter was working for Canadian government for 30 years, and actively participate in research about birds and marine biology. So, it was a very informative class, and i really like that i got to learn so much about the physiology of the seabird and the many species they are. I really can’t show all the content or record the session since all of them are Hurtigruten’s property.
And then lunch time came, something i treasured. I loved the pasta and broccoli soup they had today, and they even make me vegetarian pizza. Also, i could not wait for my landing.
While the boat attempted to make a landing, i attended session called “Antarctica a land of rocks and ice - not all about the penguins” that was delivered by a geologist who happens to be an ex managing director of some oil company in Australia. The session basically highlighting Antarctica from geology point of view, what the island was like hundreds of millions of years ago. The rock structure and the geographical shift of continents in the world.
If nothing, it only makes me realize that geographical boundary and territory are manmade, nature keep shifting and changing and twisting and turning. We are living on what? An area that was not exist million years ago and probably won’t exist million years ahead. We are significantly insignificant compared to the power of nature and change.
At the same time the session begun, group 1 started the landing procedure using the tender boat. By the end of the geology session, group 3 was also called. But, since the sea swell was quite significant, the kayak and snow shoeing were cancelled. I went to deck 6 and deck 9 to get closer view of the surrounding islands and the sky was black, a trace of snow falling and the wind blows. I just hoped it’s getting better in time so i got to land.
While waiting for my landing time, i went back to my room and edited some photo (because of what? No wifi! Otherwise i would’ve texting with my mom and my friend). It only went for an hour before i heard another announcement that the rest of the landings are cancelled due to worsening sea swell and the captain has decided to put safety first and move the rest of the landing on the next island (south Shetland island). Wow nice!
I guess no one can predict the weather, though i’m happy the seasick subsided, i’m not happy they cancel my landing! Then, my mind already shifted from the landing to the dinner. I can’t believe eating is my only consolation here on the boat! Never thought of that before, sheesh!
After dinner, there was a briefing about the next-day plan, and an introduction about science program by Norwegian Polar Institute. During the next-day-plan briefing the program manager explained why she had to cancel the landing operation and showed how hard was it for the crew to help the landing due to strong wave and showed some pictures of how they struggled to get the tender boat on shore. Eventually she needed to make decision to cancel the whole landings.
She also explained the next-day plan, which is the stop at deception island. Situated at 62 deg-58W and 60-32S, deception island is a Strato volcano. This active volcano last erupted on 1969. There was scientist research base built on the island by Chile and British, but both were destroyed during the eruption.
The shape of deception island was a circle and the ship need to make entrance to its narrow opening, and the landing will be very early in the morning. To watch the ship passing the island’s narrow opening we can see at 5:30 am in the morning. And then she continued on to explain the geology of the deception island.
The session was closed by a scientist working for Norwegian Government explaining how they deployed a tracking device to some penguins and monitor their movement and feeding pattern. By knowing its feeding pattern and the area, the team will know the area where they will search for krill, and that they can advise krill fisherman to avoid those areas.
i'm going to bed now, hoping tomorrow would be my day