Nov 18, 2017 - National Geographic Explorer
Sea days are a perfect time for reflection, especially after the jam-packed week we had in South Georgia. We are en route to the South Orkneys, but it will take a full day and two nights to get there. Some of us slept in a little, while others visited the bridge early—as usual—to get the first crack at the daily bird list.
In the morning, we listened to National Geographic photographer Tyrone Turner, who has worked extensively in Brazil, so we could imagine ourselves in warmer climes. After that we had a briefing to prepare us for some activities that we hope to offer in Antarctica, including kayaking and some time on the sea ice.
At lunch, we had a special photo collection for the Citizen Science program we are piloting on this voyage under the leadership of naturalist Jimmy White. A few days ago, we were all invited to participate in a BioBlitz, a short, intense, participatory photographic survey of one of the places we visited on South Georgia called Godthul. For three hours in the morning, we took pictures of every living thing we could find, from pipits to lichen to amphipods. At lunch today, the BioBlitz team collected everyone’s photos so the species can be identified and the results shared, open source, with the global naturalist community. It was amazing to see so many people rush to the table with USB drives, SD cards, smartphones, and tablets full of photos from our communal biological survey. Results to come!
Naturalist David Cothran shared some information this afternoon about whales of the Southern Ocean, complete with a fascinating account of their evolution. Afterwards, the crew invited everybody for a special tea time on B-deck, where we could visit the laundry and some storerooms—areas of the ship that are normally closed. Our final presentation was by one of our Global Perspectives Guest Speakers, Fran Ulmer. She led us through a comparison of the Arctic and Antarctic from a geopolitical perspective.
By this time in the trip, our evening routine of Recap and dinner has become a normal part of the ship’s rhythm. In the evening, our photographers had a chance to critique each other’s work, all in good fun, of course.
By morning we should be near land again . . . and then on to the White Continent!
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