Antarctic Diary: March 13th – Crossing Drake Passage, Land Ahoy, Whale Ahoy!!

Position at 0700 on 12th/13th March
Latitude: 61°12’0” S
Longitude: 059°44’2” W
Course: 177°
Speed: 14.2 kts
Barometer: 998hpa
Air temp: 0° C
Sea temp: 8.1° C
Wind Speed: W 6
Penguin count: 0
Whale count: 1

It’s Day Two! We’re all up early because the excitement of this trip is keeping us energised! We can hardly believe it, but we’ve already spotted our first whale, and basically… there’s no words to describe these wonders unfolding before us and as always we feel so honoured and privileged to be here on this journey, representing and sponsored by the wonderful team at Aurora Expeditions.

Last night, before we settled in for dinner, we got to meet some of the amazing crew that are on board the Greg Mortimer with us on this trip – and what a lovely, experienced & knowledgeable bunch they are! With luck on our side, we’re hoping for the chance to spend some time with each and every one of them, so we can tap into their expertise, and mine their minds for the nuggets of knowledge to enrich our Upschool lessons.

In the lecture hall, each crew member introduced themselves and spoke a few words on their particular expertise.

Eduardo is the kayak guide and also a biologist.

Anna is on board as assistance.

Eloisa is also a kayak guide and a marine biologist.

Serge is the zodiac master – zodiacs being the little boats we head out on to cruise around to and from shore.

Pete is a kayak guide and also seal whisperer!

Hannah is a naturalist and expert on wildlife and seals.

Pia is a marine biologist.

Ella is a snorkelling guide and environmental scientist.

Staz is a snorkel guide.

Renato is the ship photographer.

Jeff is a historian.

Reba is the onboard expedition manager.

Linda is the expedition medic.

Matt is a kayak guide.

Pat is a marine biologist and oceanographer.

Isabelle is the assistant expedition leader.

Dan is a kayak guide.

John is a marine biologist and zodiac master.

Christian is the expedition leader and ornithologist.

For much of the rest of the 12th and 13th, we familiarised ourselves with the ship and crew members, caught up with some of the staff who we remembered from our previous Arctic expedition, and readied/steadied ourselves for the cruise down the notorious Drake Passage!

See you tomorrow and thanks for reading!

Love from the Frosty Five!

Tanya, Gavin, Graeme, Jordan & Matt