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Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp, On board the M/V Plancius
March 3-14 2015 Trip Report

Escorted by: Cindi LaRaia

Page Eleven

Day 11 – Friday 13th March 2015
At Sea in the Drake Passage

GPS 08.00 Position: 057°13’S / 064°30’W
Weather: Wind: WNW 5. Sea State: Moderate. Weather: Overcast. Temperature: + 6°C

Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp, On board the M/V Plancius, March 3-14 2015 Trip Report - Page ElevenThe sea conditions had calmed significantly during the night and although there were still a few bouncy bits it was much better and most of us enjoyed a good night of sleep. Once again there was no wake‐up call and we were woken by the call for breakfast by Andre, the Hotel Manager at 8am.

The first lecture of the day was given by Lori who spoke about how scientists study whales and the research that is going on in the Antarctic to find out more about the whale species such as Humpback whales, Minke whales and Sperm whales. It was a fascinating insight into some of the research that is taking place in this remote environment. There was time for tea, coffee and cookies before Andrew invited us to join him for his presentation about ice, explaining how sea ice forms from the grease ice through to pancake ice and finally pack ice. He also talked about the formation of glaciers and icebergs which once again gave a great insight into the main feature of this frozen continent. Having run out of time at last night’s Re‐cap Ali was able to give her short presentation about Krill just after Andrew’s lecture. This important Antarctic species lives under the pack ice and feeds on the algae beneath the ice during the winter months. ***Actually they said the wind got up to 50 knots with 60 kt gusts, it was very wild to see one side of the boat very low and the other very high as we hit the low trough and see the wind blowing off the giant waves!

The wind was still blowing at around 20 knots and increasing but the motion of the ship was still reasonably comfortable and people were able to spend a little bit of time out on the bridge wings before lunch. After our final lunch on board, a Philipino stir fried rice speciality, it was time to settle our accounts with Andre and Beverley so those nights in the bar, internet cards and the retail therapy all had to be paid for at this stage. It had been nice not to think about money and credit cards for a few days!

During the early part of the afternoon the wind began to increase again and by 2pm it was a steady 45 knots and Plancius was pitching and rolling once again. We were nearing the shelter of Cape Horn but it was living up to its reputation for creating some of the stormiest sea conditions in the world and it was a bit of a wild afternoon.

Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp, On board the M/V Plancius, March 3-14 2015 Trip Report - Page ElevenTo relax during the afternoon staff screened a documentary entitled Penguin Post Office, which was all about the Post Office and Port Lockroy and the Gentoo penguins that make this tiny little island their home. It was lovely to see the whole breeding season of the penguins in one short documentary and see Port Lockroy once again which, was our first landing on this voyage. The last formal presentation of the day was from Wilson, who spoke about his expeditions to the South Pole and Mount Vinson. He has spent a huge amount of time in Antarctica and had some really exciting adventures working as a guide to other intrepid travellers.

At 5pm Dive Team gave a presentation showing some of the things that the divers had seen on their underwater adventures throughout this voyage. There were some absolutely stunning images from the divers and it was a fantastic glimpse into a world that few people have had the privilege to experience and gave us a view into the cold waters of the Southern Ocean from the comfort of our lounge.

At 6:15 we were invited to the lounge for Captain’s Cocktails which was a chance to toast our wonderful voyage to the Antarctic Peninsula. Oliver, our Leica photo guide had put together a fantastic photo slide‐show of our voyage and it was lovely to look back over our Basecamp adventures. We’ve had some incredible encounters with whales, penguins seals and orca and have enjoyed all the Basecamp activities on offer. We’ve made good friends along the way and have some very happy memories to take away with us on this, the trip of a lifetime.

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