2 days to port! We have managed to make our way through the screaming 60's, furious 50's and are working our way through the roaring 40's latitudes. I now know why they are considered the perhaps roughest seas on earth. As I write this we are 90 nautical miles south of the 200 mile International waters boundary of Australia, speeding away at 10 knots. The last few days have been the roughest so far in terms of weather and waves. Wind speeds were sustained at 70+ knots with waves 40+ ft. It made for quite a ride. Meals as an example had to be altered as it was very hard for the cooks to prepare anything. More than once a dish that took Mike, Marcella and Lorenzo hours to get ready ended up crashing to the floor.

Our constant companions

The Southern Ocean from the galley port hole
The Southern Ocean from the galley port hole

If you didn't secure your gear it was likely to have met with the same fate.I am thankful to say the seas are less angry and all is good. Of course we were inside the skin of the ship and other than some folks with a queasy stomach we were fine. Technology is amazing. Speaking of amazing I have to talk a little about sea birds, more specifically, Petrels and Albatrosses. These engineering marvels of nature were with us most of our transit to and from Antarctica. Even during the last few days they were effortlessly riding the high winds just above the waves. There wings shape (aspect ratio) make them perfectly adapted for life 1000's of miles from land.

A Southern Antarctic Petrel
A Southern Antarctic Petrel

Occasionally they skim the surface of the ocean for krill and small fish pretty much spending their time flying. Only a few times did I observe them floating in the water. It was hard not to be impressed as they flew in the 50+ knot winds dipping below the massive waves, and then reappearing again.

Wildlife
Wildlife

There are several species of Petrels and Albatross inhabiting the Southern Oceans. They breed and raise their young on specific islands in the region. Their primary diet consists of krill, fish and squid. It often takes some of them a long time to take off from the water, but once in flight they are a treat to watch.

As our cruise winds down and we head back to land I will miss these birds. They are a far cry from their subsidized distant cousins that inhabit a dump or fast food restaurant parking lot. They are truly wild.

Author
Date
Weather Summary
Cloudy
Temperature
50
Add Comment

Comments

Guest (not verified)

I can't tell you how much we've enjoyed getting your blog posts by email, Glenn. It's been a great ride for us too (vicariously) and we can imagine what it's been like for David G as well there on board.
You've had a most wonderful experience as part of this trip to our part of Antarctica and I'm so glad that people like you and all the scientists play a significant part of understanding and preserving this most magnificent part of our globe. Thank you and safe travels. :)
best wishes
Sheryl Gwyther

Guest (not verified)

I can't tell you how much we've enjoyed getting your blog posts by email, Glenn. It's been a great ride for us too (vicariously) and we can imagine what it's been like for David G as well there on board.
You've had a most wonderful experience as part of this trip to our part of Antarctica and I'm so glad that people like you and all the scientists play a significant part of understanding and preserving this most magnificent part of our globe. Thank you and safe travels. :)
best wishes
Sheryl Gwyther

Glenn Clark

It has been an honor and a pleasure to be able to try to explain this
experience. It has truly been a once I a life time opportunity for sure.
I hope that I will be able to stay in contact with David and others once
all is over. Thanks again Glenn Clark

Guest (not verified)

Hi Glenn.
I can't believe that you are almost back to port and that you'll be able to be on land! It's a weird experience coming off a ship after so long and walking on firm ground. I was reading your comment above and I'm so happy that others were able to get so much out of your journals. You did a great PolarConnect event and another parent of a scientist on the event said that they had been reading your journals too. Just warms my heart!

Thanks for communicating the science and life aboard the ship. It's been a great journey to follow. Enjoy your last day at sea.

Cheers,
Janet

Guest (not verified)

Hi Glenn-I have also really enjoyed reading about your trip and always looked forward to your posts. Your webinar was fantastic and one of the things I took away from it was how much you have enjoyed your journey to the Antarctic and the amazing experience that it has been. Safe travels home and thank you for your reporting. Jane Gray (mom of Hannah Gray-marine tech on your trip)