23 January, 1998
Today was a quiet day in the labs because we are making passage towards Antarctica. I looked out my window this afternoon and saw land. I had not expected to see any land since I knew we had passed through the Straits of Magellan sometime during the night. In checking with the First Mate, I learned that it was still the Chilean coast and that we were about 32 miles off-shore at Cabo de Pablo. It is quite beautiful to see the mountains in the distance. Tonight, or should I say very early tomorrow morning, we should pass from behind the South American continent and be officially in the Drake Passage. We do not yet know what lies ahead weather-wise because it can change so rapidly. Why would the weather be so changeable in the Drake Passage?
I have seen several skuas, which are the large gull-like avian (bird) predators/scavengers in Antarctica. No other animals have been spotted yet, but I'm keeping a watch out. What other animals -- birds, mammals -- do you think I'll encounter on my way to Antarctica? Why did I not include reptiles or amphibians? (Fish generally tend to stay underwater, so I won't count them!) I'll report all the animals, so keep track and see who guesses the most accurately!
If any of you have questions, please feel free to write and ask. If I do not know the answer, I have many valuable resources aboard to tap.
The date on this vessel changes at 9:00 PM to the next day, as it is tied to Greenwich Mean Time. All of the lines of latitude converge at the poles creating multiple time zones in a very short distance so the ship's "days" are governed arbitrarily by GMT. The journal for yesterday was meant as an addendum to Jan 22, but since it was sent after 9:00 PM, it was dated the 23rd.
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