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

Escorted by: Cindi LaRaia

Page Three

Day 3 – Thursday 5th March 2015
At Sea in the Drake Passage

GPS 08.00 Position: 060°42’S 064°18’W
Weather: Wind: ENE 4. Sea State: Moderate. Weather: Partly cloudy. Temperature: + 2°C

Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp, On board the M/V Plancius, March 3-14 2015 Trip Report - Page ThreeDuring the evening the wind had decreased and the sea had calmed and through the night it was even calmer allowing for a good night of sleep for everyone. Kelvin did the wake‐up call at 7:30 but many of us had already been up for a while enjoying the sunrise and the calm seas of the Drake Passage.

It was busy in the dining room for breakfast with everyone feeling much more comfortable that they had yesterday. After breakfast, at 9:30 we were invited to the lounge by Kelvin to attend 2 of the mandatory briefings; the IAATO briefing and the zodiac briefing, both of which are essential prior to going ashore. The IAATO briefing explained some of the guidelines about being a responsible visitor to Antarctica, including avoiding the introduction of ‘alien’ species such as seeds and insects while the zodiac briefing explained about our small boat operations.

Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp, On board the M/V Plancius, March 3-14 2015 Trip Report - Page ThreeAfter all the information and guidelines we put some of the theory into practice and began the checking and vacuuming of our outer gear just to make sure we weren’t introducing something to this unique pristine environment. Staff were on hand to help us check our gear and offer advice on what we needed to clean. The process was smooth and efficient. The vacuuming continued during the afternoon as we prepared for landing in Antarctica but by 3pm everyone was cleaned and declared fit for Antarctica and so the round of educational presentations could begin again.

Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp, On board the M/V Plancius, March 3-14 2015 Trip Report - Page ThreeAt 4:30 Ali invited us to the lounge to give a presentation about some of the penguins that make their home in Antarctica. The summer season is a busy time for these tough little birds as they race to breed and raise their chicks in the short season and we hope to see Gentoo, Chinstrap and maybe even Adélie penguins during our voyage south. She was only half way through her presentation when Kelvin announced that we had some Fin whales ahead of the ship and that we would be spending some time with them while they were feeding. We had some good views of these large whales as they came to the surface to feed on krill. After a while we reconvened in the lounge for the rest of Ali’s presentation about penguins. Afterwards there were more whales around the ship so we braved the cold and enjoyed watching them and trying to take photos as they fed.

At 6:30 we were invited to the lounge for Re‐cap where Andrew talked about the geological formation of the Scotia Arc and Kelvin explained the plans for the morning. He then showed a short video about the ‘Penguin Post Office’ at Base A, Port Lockroy where we hope to visit in the morning. Dinner was served and as we made our way to the dining room land could clearly be seen on our starboard side. This was Smith Island, an island that reaches 7000 feet and is heavily glaciated with very steep mountain peaks. It forms part of the South Shetland Islands and, being so close to land we were joined by hundreds of Cape petrels. As night fell we crossed the Bransfield Strait and made our way to the Antarctic Peninsula.

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