Today was another day at sea. We passed the South Orkney Islands before breakfast at some distance; those few people who woke early and made it to the bridge could just see the islands. Our destination remains approximately Snowhill Island where we expect to meet the sea ice. ETA for that destination is between 5p and 6p tomorrow.
I’ve heard “stir-crazy” a few times from various people today. Myself, I’m perfectly happy to nap or sit quietly while time passes, but others are getting pretty antsy to be landing somewhere, or at least cruising. The schedule today included four lectures: Dag spoke about Scott’s race for the South Pole and how Scott lost both the race and his life; Marco explained the effects of climate change on birds; Doug gave a great overview of our plan for the peninsula and showed many inspiring photos; and Joan gave an excellent lecture on the history of discovering Antarctica. All lectures were in the lounge (3-forward) because the swells today weren’t as bad as those yesterday. It’s still cold in the lounge, but Melinda’s found a remedy: borrowing the blanket from the top bunk in our cabin.
Around lunch we learned some notable news: two earthquakes had struck very near the South Shetland Islands (at 60.793°S, 55.729°W and at 60.797°S, 55.999°W), a 6.6 and 6.2. We didn’t feel any tsunami from these quakes, but at our distance and direction we really wouldn’t have expected any effect. It’ll be interesting to see the landing sites later this week and into next, because if a tsunami did form, those sites would have been hit.
We have entertainment after dinner tonight: a South Georgia retrospective slide show. Each person on the trip (including the staff) submits up to five photos from South Georgia, and we spend an hour admiring each other’s work (compiled by Bruce). We did this after the Falklands, and we’ll do this again after the peninsula. Should be a great show.
The plan tomorrow is to meet the sea ice late afternoon or evening and begin the Emperor penguin watch. More talks are lined up during the day but the schedule may change if we start to see something interesting earlier.