Saturday, January 27, 2024

Antarctica 2023-4 - Day 5 - 12/30/2023 - Drake Lake

I had some trouble falling asleep the night before, but eventually did get a few hours of decent sleep in. Fran slept pretty well. She did the 8am morning movement yoga class and then met me for a quick breakfast. I was feel better after a night of more sleep, and was beginning to get my sea legs. It also helped that the water grew calmer throughout the day as we reached the end of he Drake Passage and transitioned to the Weddell Sea in the evening.

In terms of scheduled programming… We watched a talk about whales at 9am. Beginning at 10:15am, they called us down to the mud room (by zodiac groups - we were in the Crabeater Seal group) to try on (and exchange if necessary) the muck boots and outer (Gill) jacket that we were being loaned for the expedition; mine fit fine, while Fran exchanged both her boots and jacket for different sizes than she had ordered. Next was an intro to photography briefing at 11am, followed by lunch. We went to a talk on the history of Antarctic expeditions at 1:30pm, a briefing for day paddle participants at 3:15pm, and a talk on penguins at 4pm. Fran spent some time in the sauna before we watched the daily recap remotely at 6pm.

Our lockers (153 & 154) in the mud room

My nausea essentially dissipated by the end of the afternoon. I wasn’t the only one feeling much better, as others passengers who had mentioned being sick were now in better spirits. It was also palpable in the mood at dinner, as people were more upbeat and there was more chatter in the dining room. I got a more of an appetite at lunch and dinner, though I still wasn’t quite finishing full meals even by dinner. Speaking of the food, it’s been unimpressive, though fine, so far. One of the expedition crew was talking it up before we left, so there was a bit of reason to raise expectations. But so far it hasn’t matched his hype. Which, again, is fine; especially given the remote location where we started and where we are going. I don’t think people are here for the food.

We, particularly Fran, also spent a decent chunk of time sightseeing outside on the deck and in the bridge of the ship as we cruised through the Erebus and Terror Gulf. We saw some icebergs (a couple with penguins on them) and some whales (humpbacks and fin), and others reported seeing seals. Fran saw an iceberg calving.

First big iceberg

We found out that the plan for tomorrow is to have 2 zodiac excursions to the islands at the tip of the peninsula - one in the morning, and another in the afternoon. The afternoon excursion should include time on land.


My favorite pictures from the trip can be found here.

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