2009 Antarctic Cruise
Between January 23 and February 10, 2009, we travelled aboard the
Ocean Nova with
Natural Habitat to the Antarctic region. We departed from
with stops in the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, South Orkney and the
Antarctic continent. There were 68 passengers on the cruise.
Sept. 8, 2009: Pictures are coming, keep checking back in a few days.
The day starts when our expedition leader "gently" wakes us up over the
ship-wide PA system. We are usually informed of our current location
(latitude/longitude) and the temperature (Celsius, of course), in addition to a
reminder about our morning's activity. After having breakfast, we change into
our layers, waterproof pants,
Wellington boots and
parkas, and of course the mini life-jacket which is almost impossible to get on
and off. After signing ourselves out of the ship, we get in line at the gangway
and wait for the Zodiac to take us to our landing.
Landings were usually wet (you step into the ocean then head onto the beach).
Once onshore, we could remove the life-jacket (or leave it on, if it's being
difficult). At this point, we usually wandered off in our own direction to see
or photograph landscapes or wildlife (guides would usually be stationed at the
limits of our exploration). After a pre-determined time (usually 1-3 hours), we
were called back to the Zodiac to return to the ship. Once onboard the ship, we had to
wash our boots to prevent the accidental transfer of species from one location
to the next. If it was an early morning landing (like 6-7 a.m.), brunch would be
waiting for us (in lieu of breakfast), otherwise we'd have lunch. The ship would
reposition itself for the next landing. Sometimes this took
under an hour, other times several hours.
Afternoon landings were very much like the morning landings. Or instead of a
landing, we might just take a Zodiac cruise. On a few landings, we took a Zodiac
tour before returning to the ship. This was an excellent way to see species
which are not land-based, like some of the seals. Some Zodiacs were lucky to
have a close encounter with a whale!
On sea days when we did not go ashore, we'd have a lecture in the Panorama
lounge after breakfast, and
another in the mid-afternoon. The lounge had two ceiling-mounted video
projectors and screens, one for each side of room. They were connected to either
a laptop computer or a DVD player. The lecture topics included biology, geology and
history - just like being in school (but without notes and tests). We also had a
climate change seminar one afternoon with our World Wildlife representative.
Every afternoon, we'd get together in the lounge for cake, snacks and
cocktails. We'd have a review of the day's activities, and a briefing for the
next day. Dinner followed between 7 and 7:30, then Ocean Nova Cinema might show
a movie, if you could stay awake.