November 16th — 6:15 am
The view from the bridge was of calm sea with light visibility of about 300 meter. At times there is light snow. The wind makes the air almost too cold to leave the porthole open in my cabin. Sailing through the shrieking 60s now we begin our look out for icebergs. The expedition leader, Mike Messiok, gave us a challenge — first one to view a an iceberg and rushes to the bridge to announce it wins a bottle of champagne. I better start looking!
November 16th — 6:45 pm
Location 64 Degrees Latitude and 180 Longitude
The first iceberg was spotted with the assistance of binoculars. According to radar, it was about 19 miles from the ship when it was first spotted. Now that we are in the ice, the expedition leader gave a brief lecture about the excursions we may take during the two weeks in the Ross Sea after the Kaptain Khlebnikov is parked in the ice. It is impossible to determine which excursions we will take or when we will be at the first possible stop which is Coulman Island to visit an Emperor Penguin rookery. Coulman Island is over 300 miles of ice and some open sea from our current location. Even with the ice charts and modern equipment, it is difficult to determine the best route to the Coulman Island as the wind can change the ice conditions very quickly. Breaking through ice is not easy without the correct weather conditions. During our next two weeks in the Ross Sea area, “weather permitting” will be the most common phrase on the ship.
(This is Laurie’s fourth visit to Antarctica. She is blogging her way through this epic month-long Antarctica trip; the Kapitan Khlebnikov’s Ross Sea Centennial Voyage. Tune in for daily updates from the field. Pictures from Laurie’s past Antarctica travels are found on her website.)