Day 4 |
Sep 10, 2010

At Sea, en route to Greenland

By Chris Srigley, General Naturalist

Co-ordinates: Noon Position – 63˚18.3’N, 034˚54.3’W
Weather: Overcast with high winds

From what we knew, our weather forecast today was for the wind and swell of the past twenty-four hours to die down through the night and into the morning. As I arrived on the Bridge my first impression of the day was increased wind and swell. Checking the Bridge’s gauges I wasn’t surprised to see our true wind speed at 40.5 knots. Even with the increased winds and swell, our ride continued to be smooth as the Prince Albert II held its ground as it rode along with the swells at our stern.

It wasn’t long before I spotted my first Northern Fulmar of the day. A constant companion to any ship as it plies the waters of the North Atlantic at any time of year. To my surprise however a small group of Common Eiders, one male and four females, came into sight on the port side before vanishing into the distance. Being so far out to see it was a wonderful sight as these beautiful birds headed for their wintering grounds after a summer of breeding in the northern reaches.

After a certain amount of time staring through a pair of binoculars at the heaving seas of the Denmark Strait, a change of scenery is always welcome. By chance it was time to make my way to The Theatre with the guests to enjoy our photographer Kristine Hannon’s talk ‘Getting Started’. Always informative, Kristine gives us all the tips we need to create the best photos we can and make the most of our voyage photographically.

Always keeping an eye out the window, I was happy to see we had not lost our hitchhiker! A small Meadow Pipit who had obviously been drawn to the lights of the Prince Albert II as we exited the small harbour at Heimaey under darkness. The great thing however is that the Meadow Pipit in Greenland is only found on the eastern shores, where we will be making our first stop.

After a quick lunch, the draw of what might be out there pulled me back to the Bridge. Joined by several of the guests, we scanned the horizon for whales and discussed what we may expect to see in the waters around us and the coming days. It is always a pleasure to have extra eyes along with interesting conversation from guests who are as excited as you are to see and experience the life surrounding us.

Once again the call of The Theatre beckoned. Historian Christian Walter was about to start his afternoon program ‘A pictorial Guide to Greenland’. With his insightful knowledge and witty humor Christian intrigued everyone with his overview of the different cultural and natural highlights of what is the world’s largest non-continental island and its people.

After our Expedition Leader gave a quick briefing for our plans tomorrow in Skoldungen Fjord, Hans-Peter Reinthaler gave a talk on the plants of Greenland. Making the ‘green stuff that doesn’t move’ (as Hans would put it) come alive is something Hans does like no other I have worked with. For those who couldn’t be slightly interested in plants, his is an eye-opening discussion. Once on land everyone will be spending time staring at the ground and taking pictures for Hans to identify for them!

With another day at sea winding down, I joined our first-time guests with Silversea in the Observation Lounge for a cocktail party and welcome to the Silversea family. Hosted by our Assistant Expedition Leader Jarda Versloot, our guests were introduced to Silversea and our Venetian Society before making their way down to The Restaurant for another excellent meal prepared by the galley team.

All we could do now was hope for the skies to continue clearing and the northern lights to appear. It would be a perfect way for our adventured in Greenland to begin!