Antarctic Diary: 24th March – Godthul & Jason Bay

Position at 0600 on 24th March
Latitude: 54°16’2” S
Longitude: 036°15’6” W
Course: 222°
Speed: 10.8 kts
Barometer: 996 hpa
Air temp: 3° C
Sea temp: 1.5° C
Wind Speed: N 3
Penguin count: countless!
Whale count: also countless!!

The morning begins with a call over the tannoy at 6am! Though, to be fair, it’s not an unreasonable hour – the expedition leader, Christian, has allowed us the opportunity to head to shore at this early hour so we can beat the weather and get to shore and back before the swells and winds pick up.

We quickly get into gear and cruise over in our Zodiac to Godthul, which is Norwegian for ‘good hollow’. Godthul was used as a whaling station between the years of 1908 and 1929. Along the shoreline were lots of fur seal pups, some rusting barrels, a shed and boats run ashore from the whaling days long gone.

Further along, there is a track that winds its way up a hill filled with tussac grass, an interesting tufty type of plant that takes 200 hundred years to grow! As we make our way to the top of the hill, we see seal pups hiding in amongst the grass, grumbling at us as we move past them! We reach the top of the hill to beautiful views of the mountains surrounding us, and we film a lesson on the rock cycle.

Back on the ship, it’s still early, so we have brunch as the captain and expedition leader take us to a sheltered cove called Jason Bay. We’re back on shore on a pebbly beach filled with fur seals, elephant seals, king penguins and leopard seals swimming nearby. Once again, it’s the perfect backdrop for more lessons to add to our ever-growing collection of educational content for Upschool’s ‘The Power of One’ learning sequence.

The day ends with some fascinating insights into seal breathing techniques from Bia, the marine biologist, and a lecture from Dr Karl about ‘Absolutely fabulous moments in science.’

See you tomorrow and thanks for reading!

Tanya, Gavin, Graeme, Jordan & Matt