Day 1 |
Mar 03, 2011

By by Robin Aiello, Marine Biologist

Co-ordinates: S 54◦55’, W 67º10’
Weather: Bright sunshine
Air Temperature: 18C

Ushuaia looks so beautiful when the sun is shining and the skies are blue – and today was the perfect day to show off this quaint little town. The deck crew had the ship looking absolutely perfect for the guests arriving this afternoon – the windows were washed, the paint on the hull was touched-up, and the flag was flying. Inside, the Hotel Department had hurried (as usual on turn-around days) to get all the suites cleaned and ready for the new guests. We were ready!

The guests arrived at 4 pm – tired but happy. During check-in I was able to chat with each and every one of the boarding guests since I was the one collecting their passports. I was absolutely delighted to see at least 6 couples that I had sailed with previously onboard the Prince Albert II in other parts of the world. It only took about 30 minutes to get everyone checked in, photographed and settled into the suites.

At 5pm, we had the required Safety Drill where all the guests have to grab their bright orange lifejackets and head up to the Muster Station in The Theatre for a briefing about safety aboard the Prince Albert II. We then had another short break before meeting once again in The Theatre for Staff Introductions. During this time Robin West, our Expedition Leader, introduced various Heads of Departments and key staff members. These introductions are followed by each of the Expedition Team members getting up on stage and introducing themselves. We have a highly qualified team for this trip with a wide breadth of knowledge.

Our Team consists of:
Expedition Leader - Robin West (South Africa)
Assistant Expedition Leader – Jarda Versloot (Netherlands)
Staff Assistant – Daniil Elterman (Latvia)
Birder - Will Wagstaff (England)
Fisheries Expert – Luke Kenny (Ireland)
Marine Biologist – Robin Aiello (Australia)
Geologist – Juan Carlos Restrepo (Colombia)
Climatologist & Birder – Claudia Holgate (South Africa)
Botanist – Hans-Peter Reinthaler (Austria)
Photographer – Kristine Hannon (Belgium)

We also have two prestigious guest lecturers – David Guggenheim (a conservationist from the USA) and Harold Schwammer (the Director of the oldest zoo in the world – the Vienna Zoo in Austria). I think they will be a fantastic addition to our areas of expertise.

So…here we are after dinner sailing down the calm waters of the Beagle Channel, watching the sun set over the rugged mountains. This might be our last period of calm seas for a few days, as Robin West informed us at the briefing that there was a massive storm in the Drake Passage that was going to stir up some large swells. We are expected to come out of the protection of the Drake at about 11pm tonight – so I had better wrap this log entry up and pack away my computer and camera gear so it doesn’t slide off the desk in the rough seas. Good night!