Thursday, February 07, 2008

Southern Convergence and our first bergs

Feb 7, 2008
I have no idea what day of the week it is. Arlene and I have finally gotten our sea legs. Dena had them the moment she stepped on board. Somewhere in the middle of the night we crossed the biological/oceanic southern convergence. I'll describe the convergence and it's meaning below. We are currently at ~ 61 degrees latitude. I was upstairs early this morning and just sat, quietly gazing over the grand expanse of ocean sprawled in every direction. To describe it I might use the word infinity. Yes, infinite wide open space and ocean in every single direction. Certainly humbles you.

We've been very busy today. Whale spouts were spotted off in the distance, fur seals porpoising along side the ship and we've just spotted our first icebergs. We couldn't be more amped up! We've spent quite a bit of time on the bridge this afternoon checking out the charts, the petrels, skuas and occasional albatross that flies by. A large grouping of cape petrels (click link for picture) has been riding with us all day, skimming over the bow waves back and forth. The above birds never touch land for 8-9 months of the year. They only land to mate.

@ 2:30pm local time we spotted our first icebergs. These are ~ 16 miles away, that being so large that they extend over our horizon. Usually 80% or more of the iceberg extends below the surface. We are nearing the Shetland Island chain and the crew is planning (wind and weather permitting) our first zodiac landing on some little island between Greenwich Island and Robert Island.
Just as an added note, you may see > 1 post from me in a day and/or pictures, so don't forget to scroll down.

The southern Converenge in case you're interested:
The Southern Ocean is the area south of the Southern Convergence, where a sudden change in ocean temperatures separates Antarctic marine ecosystems from warmer, northern marine ecosystems. The Southern Convergence runs through the Pacific, Indian, and Atlantic Oceans; the southern portions of these three oceans are known collectively as the Southern Ocean. The Southern Ocean maintains large populations of phytoplankton and krill, a shrimp-like crustacean now harvested for food by fishing fleets from several countries. Many seals, whales, penguins, and other seabirds also live in this area.

1 comment:

Joan said...

That is an awesome photo of the Petrel!! Did you take it? I look forward to reading your blog everyday, reliving the journey. Thank you...