Co-ordinates: 33º27.35 N; 9º33.48W
Leaving Funchal yesterday, April 22, at 17:00 we set out on a northeasterly course for the fabled city of Casablanca on gentle seas, which continued through today as well. Today, warm breezes under a bright sun accompanied us on this leisurely relaxing day at sea.
As usual, there were plenty of informational talks on offer that were well attended, as our guests are keenly interested in the places they visit.
At 10 AM this morning, Stefan, our geologist gave an excellent presentation on the different types of volcanoes that exist around the world, explaining recent eruptions in Iceland and comparing them to other volcanic activity as Chaiten, in Chile.
At 11 AM, our Expedition Leader, Conrad, related the history of the ship and explained the Silversea concept of expedition cruising. We saw how an unassuming small ship was transformed into the elegant and sturdy Prince Albert II. I was particularly intrigued by the many factors that have to be considered when developing itineraries.
At 2:30, I gave a talk that covered a brief history of Morocco and then focused on the various forms of Berber culture today. More than 75% of the population of Morocco still speaks a dialect of Berber and even though half the national population lives in the cities today, there are still herders, small farmers, and desert Tuaregs on the southeastern periphery of the country. Although, officially Moslem, many Berbers still retain vestiges of ancient religions including an early form of Christianity inherited from the Byzantine Empire.
For today’s Recap, Richard showed the first half of the expedition video he has been creating. This was quite a stunning surprise as he brilliantly captured the feel of the various destinations and the excitement of each moment. Volcanic ash dramatically closed in on the buses as we drove down a road cut out of the layers of ash. Delicate cactus flowers glowed with a translucent light; and of course, our expressions as we zoomed down the steep street of Funchal sitting in little baskets the locals call “toboggans.”
The day ended with the festive Venetian Dinner in honor of our returning guests – a grand and lively affair and fitting end to a wonderful day at sea.