Day 7 |
Sep 09, 2011

At sea 

By Claire Allum, Archaeologist

Co-ordinates: at sea between Greenland and Canada en route to St. Anthony
Weather: overcast with a moderate ocean swell
Air Temperature: 5.8 C
Wind: 29.5 km/hr 

The waves crashing over the bow of the Silver Explorer last night—as seen by the Bridge Camera on my interactive television—explained why I didn’t sleep well. However, a good strong coffee and a blueberry muffin in the Observation Lounge this morning prepared me for the day ahead.

By breakfast, the sea had calmed. A few sea birds circled the ship, gliding and diving under a lightly overcast sky. I marveled—not for the first time—how Vikings in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries made trips from Greenland across to North America in open boats. On his final voyage, Thorfinn Karlsefni actually had cattle on board with him in order to settle the Americas.

At 10:00 am Hans-Peter Reinthaler, our onboard botanist, lectured about “The Tundra: Vegetation without Trees.” I learned about the medical uses of Arctic Cotton Grass, that the Northern Willow can grow to a metre and a half in height, and that—despite the rather rocky landscape—southern Greenland has over 500 different species of plants.

I managed to miss the whipped scallop and herb custard with white sturgeon caviar made and served by Executive Chef Douglas Hope at 11:00 am in The Panorama Lounge, but did arrive in time to taste the kaiserschmarren. It’s a delicious dessert concoction of cake, rum and fruit compote. Chef Hope also went into some detail explaining the complicated and sometimes nightmarish “unofficial” negotiations required to get culinary ingredients aboard the Silver Explorer at international ports.

I had a delightful lunch with Anthony and Carolyn Lancaster and Ray Purdy. The conversation ranged from the British merchant marine to the behavioral differences of cats and dogs. All my resolve to eat lightly went out the window when I saw the trifle. At least I stopped myself at one helping.

At 3:00 pm I had a safety induction meeting with our onboard doctor and was, unfortunately, only able to hear the first part of our marine biologist’s (Robin Aiello) presentation “1 Fish, 2 Fish, COLD Fish.”

The Theatre was full at 5:00 pm as Conrad Combrink, Director of Silversea Expeditions, explained the details and challenges of designing the Silver Explorer’s itinerary: the difficulty of predicting political stability in countries three years ahead of time, the timing of port calls for picking up food and water, what drives the sales of particular destinations, and many other variables I had never thought of.

My day ended with a 7:00 pm welcome cocktail party for first-time guests of Silversea hosted by the Captain in The Observation Lounge. Daniil introduced the company, the owner, and the Venetian Club while we sipped on champagne and nibbled on appetizers.