Day 4 |
Oct 31, 2011

En route to Cocos Island

By Claire Allum, Archaeologist

Weather: overcast, warm and humid, intermittent rain
Air Temperature: 25 C / 80 F

My morning began with a quick continental breakfast in the Observation Lounge. I read the Canadian and British news sheets as I sipped coffee and nibbled on a bran and raisin muffin. Outside, a gray sky and misty sea air blurred the horizon.

At 10:30 I went to the Theatre to listen to Patricia Rodriguez’s lecture on “Birds in Human Life”. I learned such esoteric things, such as the Peacock represents immortality to some Christians, that its flesh was thought to have antiseptic properties, and that because some cranes kill snakes, they are considered killers of Satan (often represented by a snake). Patricia also showed a wonderful slide of Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Ornithopter” sketch—his flying machine—and an 1894 illustration of Otto Lilienthal attempting to use the model he built based on Da Vinci’s design.

At 11:45am Robin Aiello gave her Snorkeling Briefing and I, along with the rest of the Expedition Team, handed out snorkeling gear to guests in preparation for our visit to Cocos Island tomorrow.

The afternoon was also filled with things to do. At 2:00 pm Robin Aiello gave her lecture entitled “Not Just a Pretty Fish”. With luck we will be able to apply much of what we learned while snorkeling at Cocos. I also learned that her two fish nemeses are barracuda and two varieties of wrasses.

Team Trivia at 4:00 pm drove home to me how much I don’t know, such as the weight of a newborn polar bear. I was also surprised at how often our ship, Silver Explorer, had changed her name. Jarda told us that the ship had never had a name longer than two years.

Just as Juan Carlos Restrepo was about to start his lecture “Geology Rocks!” we pulled into an anchorage close to Chatham Bay at Cocos Island and a lot of the guests joined the Expedition Team on deck. Warm, humid air bathed us as we stared across at the shore, grey in the fading light. Juan delayed his lecture until we had set anchor.

Immediately after Juan’s lecture, Cocos Park Guides showed us a short video on Cocos Island and answered questions on the shore program being offered tomorrow. If it doesn’t rain it looks as if we will have a good opportunity to hike to a spectacular lookout point and do some snorkeling. I hope to visit the rocks in Chatham Bay that are covered in carved visitors’ graffiti. High tide is between 11:20 and 11:40 am, so that will be my best opportunity.

The rest of the evening was social. I attended the First-timers’ Cocktail Party and then had a very nice dinner with guests I had met on a cruise last year. My fingers are crossed that the weather is good tomorrow and that we have little or no rain.