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Crossing the Drake Channel

Lone iceberg in Drake Passage
Lone iceberg in Drake Passage
Latitude: 56 42.0' S, Longitude: 65 25.0' W, Wind Speed: 10 knots SSW, Weather Conditions: Cloudy, Distance covered in previous 24 hours: 163.5 nautical miles (nm), Air Temperature: 2 C, Sea Temperature: 1 C

We awoke to find the Drake in a frame of mind that wasn't exactly tempestuous, but could be reasonably described as boisterous: swells from seemingly all directions colliding with one another, while above the waves, strong winds brought frequent snow squalls. Was this the side of the Drake's personality we were to see for the next two days? Luckily, as the day passed the seas and wind both receded and the sun shone to produce, by evening, quite a different spectacle to that in which we had started the day. And there was the irony -- here we are heading south toward a polar region, but it is getting warmer!

The staff treated us to a full day of lectures about the history and geology of the region. Trevor enlightened us about the early explorers and sealers who came to Antarctica as the first discoverers of this rich and land. The remoteness, sense of adventure, a search for profit and exploitation of the region's rich wildlife enticed those that were willing to face the challenges that Antarctica presented. There were so many tragedies and failures that resulted due to the inhospitable weather in a time before Gore-Tex, fleece jackets and sonar.

Our afternoon lecture was focused on the "land of ice" as Barry prepared us for the glaciers and geology of Antarctica. Barry preceded his discussion with, "Everything you need to know about rocks in 12 easy minutes," and I was taken back to a brief deja-vu of my college geology classes.

And then there were the meals on board. I felt like we were eating like royalty, and it was amazing to see how the chefs and staff could pull off the gourmet meals in such a small galley. Even the Drake Passage could not ruin our appetites!

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