Sunday 16th January

Today's contributor: Jon Copley

Our transit across the Drake Passage continues. Although the ship is pitching more than before, the seas are calm by Drake Passage standards. We have encountered a headwind, however, which has slowed our progress slightly to around 8 knots.

This morning the science party practised donning survival suits, as part of our safety drills. Otherwise, we have settled into the reassuring rhythm of ship life. Mealtimes arrive at welcome regular intervals thanks to the team in the galley - last night we enjoyed Tournedos Rossilini and fresh fruit salad. The cycle of watches on the bridge takes us ever closer to our destination, and the engineers continue their routine checks and maintenance, giving the ship an underlying hum of efficient progress.

Meanwhile, the science team has finalised plans for our first few days of operations when we arrive north of King George Island. And at lunchtime we enjoyed a talk from Adrian Glover about his work on whalefall ecology - the colonies of deep-sea creatures that thrive on the skeletons of whales.

Whale skeleton, South Sandwich Islands

One of our first tasks on this expedition will be to recover whale bones that Adrian and colleagues have deployed in the Antarctic to see what species grow on them. We also plan to return to the whale skeleton that we discovered last year in the crater near the South Sandwich Islands. For more about Adrian's work and the afterlife of whales, please click here.

January 2011


February 2011