So I’ve been away from blogging for a long time due to a hectic semester at university which included a little adventure to the Antarctic.
Months and months of planning went by and suddenly we are at Edinburgh airport frantically trying to remember if we had forgotten anything. A mere 20 hours later and we arrived in Buenos Aires. For those that have never been, Buenos Aires is very nice but it merges the atmosphere of a greenhouse with some of the worst driving imaginable making car journeys a rather hazordous affair. Nonetheless we managed and the next day found ourselves at the airport for our flight to Ushuaia.
10 minutes into the flight we received a message over the intercom in Spanish. I didn’t speak Spanish (currently learning) but the phrase “el problemo technical” is a phrase which inspires panic in many languages. The problem with the plane meant we had to return urgently to the nearest airport which made for a very tense flight. Nevertheless a quick change of plane and some last minute studying of our field guides and were we there.
Our role as a science team was to look for marine mammals around the clock from the bridge deck of a passenger ship called the MV Plancius. We were also doing bird surveys periodically. The aim was to gather as much information on animal behaviour and ecology in the Antarctic as we possibly could. This was not merely a way to learn new skills, Antarctic ecology data is very sporadic and there was a very real possiblity that we could unearth something interesting.
Our ship set sail the next evening. It was a beautiful ship and we sailed serenly down the Beagle Channel, excited to awake the next day in the infamous Drakes Passage. A passage so rough that is necessitated the formation of the Panama Canal as so many ships were running into trouble in the seas here. I was confident I wouldn’t get sea sick and was looking forward to a very exciting day of whale watching. This didn’t turn out to be my best prediction ever.