Day 9 |
Nov 22, 2011

West Coast of Chile, South Pacific Ocean 

By Shoshanah Jacobs, Marine Biologist

Co-ordinates: 53o 35’ S, 075o 19’ W
Weather: High overcast with sunny periods
Air Temperature: 12o C / 54 o F

Today was a full day at sea and well appreciated by staff and guests alike! But certainly that doesn’t mean that it was uneventful. A bit of a sleep-in made us alert and ready for all the announcements throughout the day. First up on the program was Kara Weller, our Marine Mammals specialist who told us all about how life has adapted to living in the cold. Kara comes from Alaska and she is, of course, perfectly suited to tell this tale! The rest of the staff hung out on the outer decks with our binoculars looking for wildlife.

But just as we were approaching a really big ship wreck, the Santa Eleonora set dramatically on the rocks just ahead, we got the call for an onboard fire drill. So off we went to get our life jackets and warm parkas. I headed up to The Theatre with the rest to practice my duty as life boat guide.

Then we all rushed back out to chat with guests and spot for wildlife. And sure enough we were not disappointed!!! There in front of the ship were four Sei whales. What a brilliant sight! Very rare is a sighting and certainly the one that we had will be remembered for a very long time. The whales stayed with us for about 45 minutes and were not at all disturbed or frightened! We watched them surfacing and blowing and then diving down to feed again and some guests even spotted huge aggregations of krill.

After lunch we were delighted by Liz’s lecture on Lichens. Liz is a very experienced naturalist and has learned all about the more unusual creatures on the planet and her stories of them are always delightful.

After a quick cup of tea I was back in The Theatre for Uli’s lecture on the Creatures of the Deep. Though most of them are very small, they are quite scary with huge teeth and very tiny eyes. Uli tried to make himself attractive to angler fish but no such luck!

Dinner was quiet and quick and then I was back in my stateroom to prepare future recaps and some lecture material. We are heading down further south and soon it will be time to change my warm weather lectures for polar lectures. It is good to be back!