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[personal profile] poletopole
Ship's Position at 12:00:
  • 52°22.5' S 93°19.7' E
  • Course 38°; Speed 15.5 kts
  • Air temperature 1°C; Water 5°C; Wind 12 kts; Direction 300°
  • Weather: Fine; Visibility 10
  • Distance covered past 24 hours: 356.7 nautical miles

Another quiet day, speeding north. The ship's rolling has occasionally (very rarely) gone nearly to 20 degrees today, but again we're having a very smooth passage. It's steady enough for usual meals (tablecloths wetted to prevent sliding dishes and glasses, wineglasses replaced by tumblers that won't tumble); art workshop; movies in the lecture hall; socializing in the bar. Still, I've been putting things away and making sure my cameras are well padded and on the floor when I'm not using them.

We've passed several more final, formerly vast tabular icebergs today, the very last of all particularly large and handsome. However, when we cross the Convergence, we'll certainly leave them behind. Already we're observing different seabirds, including several types of albatrosses, than the handful of Antarctic birds that have investigated the ship for the past few weeks. (All the seabirds have learned about free meals from fishing boats, and any boat is probably a fishing boat (legal or not) down here, so they come over to check us out. On foggy days, the birds don't see the ship, and we don't see many birds.)

The Antarctic Convergence isn't an imaginary line; it's where the cold Antarctic waters sink, meeting the warmer waters to the north. Biologically, it's the true boundary of Antarctica; 66 degrees, 60 degrees, or the continental shelf aren't relevant to the sea-dependent life of Antarctica, but this barrier is. We're crossing it tonight.
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poletopole: (Default)

July 2008

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