Day 13 |
Sep 03, 2010

At Sea

By Chris Srigley, General Naturalist

Co-ordinates: Noon position – 68˚08’N, 014˚24’W
Weather: Fog

With pleasant seas through the night, the Prince Albert II continued its journey south towards our destination of adventure for the coming days – Iceland – and our first port of call tomorrow, Husavik.

Lifting my head from my pillow eager to spot some whales and dolphins through the day, I was disappointed to find ourselves surrounded by a dense fog that left us with only a few hundred meters of visibility all around. This would make spotting anything a difficult task, let alone keeping an eye on its movements once spotted.

With this, I joined several of our guests in the Observation Lounge for coffee and pastries and a read of the morning’s papers. Discussions of our eventful days in Svalbard and our morning at Jan Mayen ensued as we enjoyed the early morning onboard.

Before we knew it, the clock hit 0945 and it was time to join Colleen Batey in The Theatre for her talk, ‘The Cultural Footprint of the Norse’. With a rich artefactual tradition it allows us to balance our interpretation of these people who have commonly been dismissed simply as raiders and thieves. With her intimate knowledge and first-hand work Colleen was able to begin to mould a different perception of this long-ago culture.

Sitting in The Restaurant over lunch with several of the guests we noticed that the fog was finally beginning to lift as we continued or southerly course. With this I quickly excused myself from the table and made my way to the Bridge. With the increasing visibility I had high hopes for cetacean sightings through the afternoon.

While our guests joined Hans-Peter Reinthaler in The Theatre for his talk ‘Biodiversity’, a comprehensive overview of what biodiversity deals with, I continued to hold vigil with the AB’s and officers of the watch on the Bridge with failing hopes.

The sea depths around us were a consistent fifteen hundred to two thousand meters. This meant that our only real chances were to see a whale in transit or a rare sighting of a beaked whale. It would take several hours and into the darkness of the night before we would reach the shelf area where the cetaceans would likely be seen.

Before I knew it, it was 1600. It was time to give up on the whales and head to the Panorama Lounge for a fun and relaxing ‘Team Trivia’ hosted by Jarda. The rest of the Expedition Team and I joined the guests as she took them through multiple choice questions about Silversea, the Prince Albert II, and the destinations we has been travelling in. Laughter filled the room as the competitive side of everyone involved began to show itself!

As team trivia began to wind down it was time, once again, to head back up to The Theatre and join Robin Aiello for “Sea Monsters, Mermaids and Giants’. In this fun talk, Robin introduces some of the local legends and sea monsters from the past and talks about how they grew form real animals. A truly interesting lecture, which Robin presented with her usual enthusiasm!

Before we knew it our day at sea was winding down. After another wonderful dinner in The Restaurant, several guests and staff gathered for a nightcap and a chat about our coming days in Iceland.

Shortly thereafter, the Panorama Lounge emptied and we all headed off with thoughts of tomorrow and our day in Husavik.