Antarctica Tour: Salt Spray and Spouts

By Jim Danzenbaker and Ann Nightingale

14 January 2012

Jim’s view: The ship was swaying from side to side throughout the night and I awoke early to head to the bridge. Others were already there and their news of distant whale spouts was a sign of good things to come. Soon spouts were erupting in all directions. The whale count was 35 and growing. I had to leave the bridge and deliver my final lecture, “Seabirds—The Far Southern Realm”. It was well-attended and fun with lots of discussion among the many folks present. 

bridge-party

Thankfully, the captain tolerated our takeover of the bridge, which provided a welcome refuge from Antarctic sea spray as we watched whales and the impressive swell (Photo by Ann Nightingale)

Once done, I quickly returned to the bridge for a continuation of my naturalist on watch duties. The whale count had mushroomed in my absence and several striking Hourglass Dolphins had been seen as well. In addition to the whales, folks were gathering on the bridge in order watch and avoid the increasing swell and salt spray that were regularly showering the bow. Rating the spray on a scale of 1 to 10 was great fun. The source of our joy was a curse to many others, who were suffering mal de mer. I consider myself lucky not to experience this uncomfortable condition. 

I was glad to be joined on the bridge by more observers than I’ve ever had on any previous trip. The additional eyes and great conversation helped during the long afternoon hours. The day ended with a new one-day high count of whales for a Cheeseman’s Ecology Safaris: 143 in total, 84 of which were Fin Whales. Unfortunately, none came close for crippling views, but we knew that more whales lie ahead, hopefully in calmer waters. 

distant-spouts

The hope for distant spouts kept us all on alert. (Photo by Ann Nightingale)

 Ann’s view: There are 35 tiles in the ceiling of my cabin. That was my view for much of today. I longed to be on the bridge counting whales and birds with the others, but every attempt to stay vertical was thwarted by an undeniable urge to be horizontal after only a few minutes. I attended the beginnings of several lectures, but only was able to make it to the end of one. I managed to get to breakfast and was late enough to lunch that not much was left. 

For the second consecutive evening, I was confined to my cabin and survived on prisoners’ rations of bread and water. I guess that’s one way to relate to the Antarctic explorers of old. Despite the seasickness, it’s been a fantastic trip, and the experience of a lifetime. I’m sure once we are on dry land again, I’ll forget all about this feeling. At least, I hope I will.

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that there will not be pain, even severe pain duirng the transition, but humanity will muddle thru. The law of supply and demand is an excellent method of rationing. Some suffer because their demand is not met due to being unwilling/unable to pay the price set, but thats the whole point of the law. Its even possible that there could be localized collapses of society, but then these also happen for other reasons See Somalia, or in the 1990s Bosnia. The peak oil folks also are in the line of the Y2k as a disaster folks. If they really put there money where their mouth is they need to move back to subsistence farming, using real horsepower for the farm work, and using tallow candles at night. A windmill might also be ok, to pump water, generate some electricity.

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