Day 2 – Thursday March 20th 2014 Beagle Channel

GPS 08.00 Position: 056°24.’S / 065°41’W

Weather: Wind SW 7. Sea State: Very Rough. Weather: Overcast. Temperature: +5°C.

During the night, just before midnight the pilot, who had navigated Plancius down the Beagle Channel had disembarked from the ship and we sailed a little further down the channel before the anchor was dropped. The sheltered waters of the Beagle Channel were to be our destination for now due to the big storm passing across the northern part of the Drake Passage.

At 7:45 we heard the first wake-up call of the trip from Rinie, our Expedition leader explaining that we were indeed at anchor and would remain so for a good part of the day to allow the weather system to pass by. Even at anchor in sheltered waters we could see that the sea was being whipped up by winds gusting at over 50 knots, particularly during the snow and sleet squalls that were racing through and it was a wild scene out of the windows. There was some motion on board but most of us made it down to breakfast before heading up to the bridge and lounge to see what the weather was throwing at us.

During the morning Rinie gave us an update from the bridge to let us know that we would be at anchor for the rest of the day so we settled down to a day on board. At 10am Albert invited us to the lounge to give a presentation entitled ‘Who Discovered Antarctica?’ His talk gave a fascinating insight into some of the first explorers in these treacherous waters and unknown lands, places that these days we take for granted that we can travel to on board a comfortable cruise ship.

During the late part of the morning Marck invited us to the lounge to explain about the e-mail and internet facilities we have on board for those of us wanting to stay in contact with family and friends back home. Many of us may be quite happy to be out of contact for a while……

At 12:30, lunch was served and afterwards there was time for some rest and relaxation if it was needed before the next activity of the day; the issuing of rubber boots. Staff invited us to the boot room and made sure we all got the right sized boots to keep our feet warm and dry during the cold part of this long voyage.

By late afternoon Rosie had a banana cake treat on the bar for us and then we were invited down to the dining room by Simon for a presentation about the seabirds of the Drake Passage and Antarctica. He had some great photographs of the species we’re likely to encounter on the first part of our voyage and gave some really interesting information about each of the species and their characteristics.

In the early evening we were invited to join Rinie in the lounge for an up-date on our plans and of course a weather forecast. Obviously we weren’t going to be going anywhere during the night and the Captain would assess the situation in the morning. The weather chart showed exactly why we had been experiencing such strong winds and with the weather system covering the whole of the Drake Passage it was certainly an exceptional storm. James then explained about the Andes mountain chain and the formation of the Beagle Channel before we were invited to the dining room for dinner. It had felt like a bit of a long day on board for some but hopefully the weather would be much improved by tomorrow so we could begin our journey south. It might have not been a perfect start to our Odyssey but at least we were safe, warm and comfortable on board Plancius.

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