Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Trying to get to Elephant Island, Wednesday, November 25

We were woken up be things falling off shelves. The sea is getting rougher.

We’re trying to get to Elephant Island--where Shackleton’s crew overwintered The island is surrounded by pack ice. Spent the morning moving around trying to find an opening in the ice, through the fog.

We came up on two humpback whales, followed them for a while. After the captain turned back to finding a way through the ice, the whales stayed with us for about 20 minutes more. The sonar indicates a concentration of just below the surface. The whales were eating without have to go deep

Just announced--the pack ice is too extensive. It is a mix of surface ice (OK kind of ice) glacier ice (you really don’t want to hit with a ship), multi year ice (also a no-no). We can not find a way in that would also guarantee us a way out. So we are abandoning our attempt to get to Elephant Island.

On our way to the South Orkneys, the bridge spots five fin whales-the second largest of the baleen whales. Spend about half an hour watching them, the are doing very shallow dives.

Tonight, the first showing of a new Lindblad movie, “Counting Penguins.” It is about Oceanites, the only non-governmental research group working in Antarctica. More about Oceanities in a future post.

Late update. We are skipping the South Orkneys--today’s ice report shows even more ice around the South Orkneys than around Elephant Island. So we will get an extra day on South Georgia. You have to be flexible when on a Lindblad trip. They take advantages of changing conditions with quite a few changes in plans.

No comments: