Day 1 |
May 25, 2011

Leith, UK

By Claudia Holgate, Climatologist

Co-ordinates: 55º 58’ N, 03º 10’ W
Weather: Overcast with intermittent rain
Air Temperature: 13.3C
Wind speed 7.8 km/h North Easterly
Pressure 1009 hPa

The weather today was fairly mild in comparison with our last few days, and even though it rained intermittently throughout the day it was a lovely day along the Eastern Scottish seaboard, where we welcomed our newly arrived guests onto the Silver Explorer in the harbour of Leith. Welcome glasses of champagne were served as everyone checked in and settled into their suites.

At 5:30pm we gathered in The Theatre where Expedition Leader Conrad Combrink delivered a mandatory safety briefing and we donned life jackets for practice. Soon the lines were cast and we headed off past the stately Royal Yacht Britannia, now a resident tourist attraction.

I went outside for the sail-away and the Common terns were whizzing past and perching on supports on the pier. As we entered the lock to enter the Firth, there was a pair of Eider ducks bobbing up and down just ahead of the ship.

At 6:30pm we reconvened in The Theatre where Conrad introduced some of the Heads of Departments on board the ship, and each Expedition Team member was given a chance to introduce themselves.

We all headed to The Restaurant to enjoy our first fantastic dinner of the voyage while the ship cruised smoothly across the flat calm waters of the Firth, a massive estuary and natural fjord. We could watch razorbills and common guillemots from the dining room windows as they flew by with many black-backed and Herring gulls added to the mix. Within the huge estuary are the Isle of May and Bass Rock, the former a breeding site for many species of seabirds and site of long-term research, the latter one of the most significant breeding colonies of Northern gannets in the world. We are all excited about this trip, which will follow in the footsteps of Vikings and take us to some of the most beautiful and remote islands in Britain and Denmark.