Warning – this post contains many photographs!!
On the 30th of October we crossed latitude 50ºS
It was getting decidedly colder, but wasn’t to unpleasant to be out on the decks. Also we hadn’t really seen any big seas yet, however things were going to change.
As we sailed further south and west the days became longer.
On day 6 of the voyage we encountered some very light winds and low seas. This was the calm before the storm. The computer models were suggesting that we would be heading straight into a deepening Low Pressure system.
This was early on day 7 of the voyage. As you can see from the next picture we were at 58ºS with a following wind of 40 knots. Under all that cloud we encountered heavy snow.
During day 7 we kept steaming in a SW direction – aiming for the relatively lighter conditions near the south of the deepening low centre. The result was the wind was from the stern which consequently knocked down the heavier southwest swell
The pressure kept falling rapidly during the day – almost dropping to 940 hPa. In the tropics a pressure this low can be found in the centre of a severe tropical cyclone or hurricane.
On day 8 of the voyage we passed just south of the low where we encountered a bigger swell from the southwest. The temperature of the air as well as the ocean decreased (air -2℃) as we encountered strong to gale force southerly winds which seemed to be blowing up from the Antarctic continent. The Captain also set a westerly course to keep us north of the main pack ice.
Around 10am we saw our first signs of sea ice.
Once we saw the first signs of ice, it became, at times, a torrent of floating ice. Late afternoon a large iceberg was spotted on the southwest horizon and at 8pm that evening the First Mate (Madeleine) declared the winner of the iceberg tipping competition. My 15 minute time slot was a little after the official declaration.
By late evening we had sailed into a break in the clouds, so there was excellent viewing and many icebergs, large and small, photographed.
Because of the relatively calm conditions many expeditioners were on the Bridge enjoying the sun and occasional iceberg.
After the sunset the evening twilight lasted for another hour. During this time we entered several ice fields. was beautiful as we encountered more and more ice. In just over 12 hours after seeing the first ice the ship was completely surrounded.
An hour after spotting the leopard seal the darkness was complete, then we were treated to an amazing light show, that is the aurora australis. As I didn’t have a tripod and because of the ships movement it was difficult to capture this amazing colourful spectacle. However I was mesmerised by the ships spotlights – searching for icebergs in our path.
For the next three days we made our way directly westward along 59º 30′ S – so as to avoid getting into the thick ice to soon. On day 9 of the voyage a larger iceberg did drift by closer to the ship.
The weather later on day 9 turned to heavier snow.
Early on day 10 of the voyage we passed close by to another low pressure system, so again it was an uncomfortable ride for some of the passengers.
Every now and then we would practice the muster – Emergency bells would sound and we would muster, wearing our survival gear and life preserver, in our designated muster area. On day 10 it was quite a rough ride so it was unsafe to muster on the helideck so we mustered in the E-deck mess.
Later in the afternoon on day 10 (5th November) the conditions significantly eased. Many of the passengers were up in the Bridge as a big tabular iceberg passed close to the port side.
Only as I was editing and sorting out photos of this iceberg did I notice the birds resting on the top.
One of the lens I purchased is a Micro Nikon 105mm f2.8 – It will be great for close up photos. I decided take some shots with it on Day 10.
Towards evening on day 10 we made our way through some pack ice.
At around 9pm on day 10 we had a visit from a giant Southern Petrel This species is one of the largest seabirds – their body measures between 86cm and 99cm (34 -39 inches) and a wingspan of 185cm to 205cm (73 – 81 inches)
Day 11 (6th of November) was similar to day 10, passing many icebergs and areas of pack ice as well as open water.
Late in the afternoon of the 6th of November (day 11) we crossed over 60ºS.
Next…. The Screaming Sixties and a visit from the King
Please leave a comment and share this blog