Antarctica Day 14 – At Sea (Again)

Once again a day at sea meant a late start, and following breakfast was a lecture on climate change and how it has affected Antarctica and will continue to do so. Without some change globally to reduce CO2 emissions the future for Antarctica looks bleak. In the past decade the reduction of the glaciers and the breaking away of ice shelves has become increasingly noticeable.

A rise in sea temperatures has been melting the ice shelves from below, particularly around the peninsula so that they eventually break away. However in the western part of Antarctica temperatures have dropped due to the hole in the ozone layer caused by the use of CFCs.

As we’d left South Georgia behind us it was once again time to wash and vacuum equipment and clothes intended to be taken ashore on our next stop. Again this took quite some time for each deck to get through, so by the time I did mine it was after lunch. It was quicker than the previous time though as I’d already prepared.

In the afternoon, whilst the seas were stormier, there was a lecture on the human history of Antarctica. This talked about attempts to find what had been known as a Terra Australis Incognita up to when it was first sighted and the various expeditions to eventually land on it and reach the South Pole. This was slightly shorter than previous lectures, but it wasn’t really covered in that much detail.

This was followed by a charity auction to raise money for the South Georgia Habitat Restoration project. Each lot was unique in some way, such as a signed book and exclusive prints. It was a very entertaining hour and they raised £1,260 – enough to fund the clearing of 14 hectares of all rats.

Whilst having dinner the boat was rocking from side to side so much that chairs were sliding across the room, and windows were awash with sea water. All this time snow was falling all around us, as the weather got worse and worse. It was amazing to see how well the staff could serve food to about 100 people in conditions like that. Apparently Drakes Passage would likely be worse however, though it’d be several more days until we reached that.

In the evening, story time returned with a tale about how one of the crew was once arrested in Greenland for his participation in a Greenpeace action where himself and a number of others tried to find out their oil spill response plan. The police then took them back to Greenland from the offshore oil rig they were sitting on and put them in jail in Greenland for a couple of weeks.

Then at midnight the clocks were put back an hour as we crossed time zones once again, back into Argentina’s timezone. As we were gaining an hour I stayed up later talking in the lounge.

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