At Sea in the Scotia Sea

Oct 30, 2017 - National Geographic Explorer

Our second day at sea after leaving the Falklands afforded us a calmer ride on the National Geographic Explorer. The ship soon approached the convergence, which is a water temperature barrier that denotes what is now called the Southern Ocean. When the temperature of the water decreases dramatically over a few miles, you know you are at the convergence. For us it was the presence of a mist and fog bank that signaled our approach. The visibility was low for most of the day, but penguins, albatrosses, and fur seals could be seen in the water around the ship.

During the afternoon our expedition leader, Doug, took roll of those aboard so we could receive a briefing on what to expect once we arrived in South Georgia. On an island with 30 million sea birds and thousands upon thousands of mammals milling on the beaches, best practices are a must. The briefing was mandatory, so everyone could stay safe and treat the animals with respect. We then made sure all of our clothing and bags were as clean as possible of introduced seeds from other parts of the world. 

Later the ship cruised past Shag Rocks, which coincidentally contained a large number of South Georgia shags and other sea birds which nest on the rocky islets. These birds accompanied the ship as we continued east towards the main island of South Georgia. We will arrive tomorrow and see what wonders the jewel of the South Atlantic has to offer.

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About the Author

Jim Kelley

Expedition Leader

A native of California, Jim has been going to sea for most of his life. Jim grew up by the ocean in Southern California, did his undergraduate work in geology at Pomona College, and received his Ph.D. in geology from the University of Wyoming. In 1966 he joined the faculty of the Department of Oceanography at the University of Washington, with joint appointments in the Department of Geosciences and the Department of Biomathematics. In 1970-71 he was Fulbright Professor at the University of Athens and Senior Research Scientist at the Democritos Greek Atomic Energy Commission.

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