February 2, 2020, Cruising Northward from Antarctica.
“You can’t let nature run wild.” Wally Hickel
“Oh yeah?” Mother Nature.
This morning we got up early to catch the scenic cruising and commentary as we entered Antarctic Sound. There was nothing out the window, fog all around and bits of ice floating in the water. The Captain radioed to ships deeper into the sound, a military vessel supplying Esperanza (Hope) Station and a smaller “expedition” cruise ship. No visibility and lots of ice.
Weather forecasting is based on lots of data points from weather stations. Now they are fed into a computer for analysis. Down here there are no so many data points. Our ship, and others provide many of them, as do the research stations. From the best the Captain could tell the weather would remain like this until at least 2 in the afternoon and we had to be on our way before that. So, reluctantly, he got on the PA system to tell us that we must skip cruising Antarctic Sound and would not be able to see some of the massive tabular icebergs that have broken off from the Larsen Ice Shelf. No matter how modern the ship or how advanced the navigation system Nature can still show you who is in charge. Sorry Governor.
The Captain turned the ship and, going about 6 knots through the fog, started toward King George Island in the South Shetlands where we first made landfall in Antarctica four days ago, and on to Cape Horn.
Late afternoon, the fog lifted as we approached King George Island and we got a final glimpse of that northernmost land considered to be part of Antarctica and just at dinner time the Captain came on the horn to tell us that there were two huge tabular icebergs, we would pass one to port and one to starboard.
As an exercise the captain had some of the officer cadets take sextant readings on the bergs. The one on the port side was about 400 feet tall. The starboard one, which looked more like a castle, peaked near 400 feet on one of its pinnacles. For reference our ship is around 160 feet at the top of the mast. We sailed through the “Goalposts.” Our farewell to Antarctica.
Here are a few other pictures from Antarctica that didn’t make it into the other posts.
The opening quote was the opening of one of our lectures from the Antarctic. The speaker was a graduate of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.
Internet on the ship has been virtually non-existent in these southern waters. I got on once each time we passed near King George Island where there must be a satellite beam directed, I was able to check mail and upload a post each time. Otherwise I’ve been able to do nothing but the sender and subject of email. So this may be one of a series of posts that upload when I get back on line. Sorry for the sudden flurry of posts.