Day 9 |
Oct 21, 2010

At sea, Callao

By Astrid Guenther-Weigl, Biologist, marine biology, veterinary medicine

Coordinates: 12°03`06” S, 77°88`42”W
Weather: Overcast, 15 degrees Celsius

The sky was grey when I looked through the window this morning. The sun would not show up for the whole day. Freezing 15 degrees Celsius made me wear a thick sweater when I went out on deck after breakfast, looking for birds and dolphins.

It was to be a relaxing but not a boring day. At 10 o’clock I heard a very interesting lecture from Captain Lawrence Rudner. “20.000 Leagues Against the Sea” was about square-rigged ships in the last centuries.

At lunch I was happy to find again my favorite dish: sushi. While listening to the soothing music of our piano player Perry, I saw dolphins jumping out of the ocean and enjoyed the company of some very nice guests.

All of us met at 2 o’clock at the Theatre for a destination briefing. Because of an expected swell after a thunderstorm in the south, the Captain had increased the speed of our vessel overnight from 7 knots to 12.5 knots. We were told we would arrive at 16.00 hours that afternoon at the port of Callao and not as originally scheduled, the following morning.

Immediately after the briefing, Claire Allum continued the entertainment by presenting a lecture on the culture of the Inkas. With a lot of impressive pictures Claire pointed out how the Inkas subjugated cultures from Ecuador to Chile, the tactics they used to ensure cooperation and capitulation and what happened after Pizarro arrived in 1532.

Claire was nearly at the end of her lecture when I realized we were entering the port of Callao.

I quickly got my binoculars and camera and rushed out on deck just in time to see some Southern Sea Lions jumping out of the water. Unfortunately we left them behind as we sailed into port.

Callao is the harbor of Lima and is huge and busy. There were other vessels all over the place, huge cargo ships as well as many trawlers. And there were birds! This was, once again, a birders paradise: Peruvian Pelicans, Band-tailed Gulls, Grey Gulls, Kelp Gulls, Neotropic Cormorants, Guanay Cormorants and the beautiful Inka terns were everywhere and tried to get some fish for dinner.

Together with many guests I watched the birds, while the Prince Albert II docked at pier 1A. After clearing the ship, everybody was free to go and do what they wanted and I decided to join the expedition staff for dinner in Miraflores.

I had a wonderful evening with fantastic food and much fun with my colleagues. After arriving back on board I instantly fell asleep under glistening harbor lights shining through my window.