Date: 24/2/2011 – 11:04
Conditions: Overcast but bright
Winds: 35- 40 knots, waves to 16 ft
Crossed the political boundary of Anarctica and are now sailing SSE in its waters. This followed the more blurred ‘convergence zone’ where the Antarctic sea pushes north west to meet the others with colder, fresh water. The wind is currently swinging increasingly northward as are the waves, both of which are now from NW to NNW. We are surfing the waves, which is increasing our speed to 3-5 knts above the maximum of 10 and means we are making good time. Our ETA is between 18:00 and 19:00 this evening. We aim to dine in the shelter of the South Shetland Islands. First port of call is Half-moon Island.
Given info on IAATO, the international treaty on protecting the whote continent. Reduction of alient pecies eg foreign microbes and seeds. 3 new plants and 1 invertibrae have arrived on the peninsula since records began. Double the number of tourist ships since 2 years ago is a massive risk. I feel bad to contribute. Clothes we are wearning on land vacuumed.
At 18:40 we see the first shadows of South Shetlands. Chin strap penguins spotted and the blow of a whale in the distance. Approach and first past the “pyramid” on our way through the last of the big waves that make us pitch 25- 30° and on to Half-moon Island, between Livingston and Greenwich Islands.