Friday, February 18, 2011

Thursday (2/17/11) – Heading to Antarctica


We left the Falklands at about 5pm.  Again, still smooth seas and a great day (we heard later that someone from Port Stanley commented that it was the first day in nearly a year when they had to wear sunglasses.  So, it was an exceptionally beautiful day.  We were sailing to Elephant Island.
Last night we had yet another great dinner and then went to the show.  We were a bit leery as it was a female opera star and opera is just not our thing.  We had an open mind as on other ships we have seen similar folks who end up doing some opera, but a lot of “regular” music as well.  She had a decent voice, but ended up doing an awful lot of operatic type of music.  Bob felt first that her range was not great, which hindered the quality of the songs as they felt too limited.  Then she sang a song in a lower register, so she clearly has the range.  So, we ended up feeling that it must have been the arrangement that just was not something that we enjoyed.  We ended up leaving part way through.
Thursday was a full day at sea.  There were a few lectures: one by the Smithsonian researcher on water and ice and one by the naturalist about penguins.  The researcher shared data that others have discovered that there is indeed a correlation of CO2 gas and temperatures.  This has been going on for hundreds of thousands of years.  Increasing CO2 gas levels leads to increases in global temperature.  What was interesting is that the CO2 gas levels today are three or four times less than they have been in the past.  So, from a scientific point, the CO2 gas levels are going up and the earth’s overall temperature is also going up.  He was very politically correct and stated that no one knows why the CO2 gas levels are increasing.  There is no evidence that it is caused by man or by other forces at work.  But he (and the naturalist said as well) that even if man isn’t really causing global warming, it still can’t be good to keep polluting the atmosphere.  The talk also covered glaciers and how they work which we both found to be fascinating.
Not much else happened on Thursday.  The seas were a bit “roll-y”, but not too high.   Temps were in the 40’s.  Partly cloudy most of the day.  The captain warned that a low was forming to the west of Antarctica which was going to affect our visit.  Sigh.  Julie said, she didn’t care about the temps or the winds as long as it wasn’t going to be foggy and we could still see Antarctica.
The show that evening was a musician from Mexico (now living in Sweden) who plays 20 different kinds of instruments.  He proceeded in his show to do exactly that and Bob counted, he played 20 different ones.  Overall, he was good.
We went to bed early  as we wanted to get up early in the morning to see the drive by of Elephant Island.

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