After five and a half days of landings with numerous wildlife encounters along the way, many people enjoyed the slightly later breakfast (8:00 a.m.) and wakeup call from Mike. There was little to no wind in the morning, but a residual swell gave us a fairly gentle beginning to the two-day crossing.
The day’s schedule was full of wide-ranging talks from the staff. The first was an intriguing talk from Jonny about marine mammal acoustics; he used several sound clips to enrich the presentation. One clip was Freddie Mercury engaging with a large crowd at a festival, the other was a recording of a male human snoring; the clip was kindly provided by the male’s partner.
In the late morning, we heard from three staff members who have wintered in Antarctica with British and American programs. The presenters were full of stories and tales of various traditions. They talked about how they dealt with months of darkness and the weird things that wintering in Antarctica does to people. For example, it’s hard to describe just how annoying it is when new summer staff don’t line up properly at dinnertime. Such irrational frustrations seem entirely justified to a weathered winterer.
After lunch, we enjoyed another informative talk about conservation in the Southern Ocean. Gerard and Matthew spoke about the projects they had been involved in, including the largest rat eradication program ever undertaken. The program was a huge success! In the late afternoon, Berit spoke about the pinnipeds of Antarctica.