At Sea

Nov 11, 2018 - National Geographic Orion

After two pretty busy days in the Falkland Islands, I think many were rather pleased with a day at sea to sort out photos and prepare for South Georgia. We had been warned to prepare for open sea and the potential for a rough crossing… But the ship has had a very gentle rocking motion… almost!

Anyone who thought this would be a day to eat cake and watch movies would be proved wrong pretty quickly because by 0945 we had to listen to the South Georgia Government’s mandatory briefing… which was a movie. But no cake yet!

After the briefing, the rest of the morning was spent carrying out decontamination procedures such as scrubbing and disinfecting boots to remove any seeds, plant materials, or pathogens followed by vacuuming clothes, backpacks, and pockets for any hidden seeds set to colonise South Georgia!

Then we had lunch. There was dulce de leche ice cream and sticky date pudding.

At 1500 the next presentation was about to start on the geology of South Georgia and the Antarctic, only to be interrupted by an hourglass dolphin. Many cetacean experiences can be pretty fleeting when sailing at speed on the ship, but this hourglass dolphin stuck with us for around 10 minutes, riding National Geographic Orion’s wake near the stern, and leaping clear of the water which was pretty spectacular to see.

Then we had cake.

Mike Greenfelder followed shortly after with a talk of the seabirds of the Southern Ocean allowing those who’d eaten to much cake to have a comfortable seat.

At 1815 we had our recap, which included undersea footage, everyone’s favourite!

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About the Author

Peter Webster

Naturalist/Expedition Diver

Born in Scotland, Peter became fascinated with nature and wildlife from a very young age. This early interest led to him earning a degree in conservation biology followed shortly after by an M.Sc in marine and fisheries ecology. He is currently studying for another M.Sc in digital mapping. After working as a commercial diver for several years Peter was offered the position of Field Diving Officer with the British Antarctic Survey in 2012. He then spent the next 16 months in the Antarctic, stationed at Rothera Research Station, on the peninsula where he managed the dive operations and a team of scientific divers working on a wide range of research on climate change, ocean acidification, and increased seabed disturbance by icebergs. As well as diving Peter also spent several months in the Antarctic deep field working in aircraft operations, depot laying, and meteorological work whilst living in tents in conditions below -30oC.

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