Day 2 |
Nov 26, 2011

At sea towards the Falkland Islands 

By Uli Kunz – Oceanographer and Zodiac-Driver

Position: 52°29’ S, 62°15’ W
Air temperature: 8 °C, 46.4 °F
Water temperature: 13 °C, 53.6 °F
Air pressure: 997 hPa
Wind speed: 43 km/h

In the early morning I looked outside the window and realized that the weather forecast for today (winds up to 40 knots and rain was predicted) was actually wrong! The sun was shining and the sea did not even show white caps but only a mild, residual swell.

During the first lecture in the morning, our historian Peter Damisch explained to our guests the discovery of the Falkland Islands. He showed drawings of the various settlements during the last centuries and talked about the different crisis that took place in that remote part of the world, which we are going to see and explore on our voyage. The early explorers and seaman in the 16th century sailed over a vast ocean and discovered and conquered remote islands at high human costs. Peter gave the example of an expedition where only 14 of 70 sailors survived! At Silversea, he added with a wink, we try to keep the survival rate at about 85%...

The weather was spectacular, so quite a lot of people went to the outer decks and enjoyed the sight of hundreds of seabirds soaring around the ship. Some of them came so close that we thought we could touch them, but obviously that was not in their interest. We tried to take pictures of the Giant Petrels and Cape Petrels, which is incredibly difficult, as these birds are gliding at high speed!

Matching the outdoor experience, ornithologist Liz Bradfield presented an incredible amount of information in The Theatre in her lecture titled “The Great Soarers”. Her enthusiasm for seabirds is highly contagious, so it will be no surprise if all our guests become true birders themselves at the end of the voyage!

In the afternoon, expedition leader Robin West went through the mandatory Zodiac briefing and explained the procedure of disembarkation into our rubber boats to go ashore in remote places. These boats make the Silver Explorer so special and give us the opportunity to explore amazing places in Antarctica that we could never see from the ship. My colleagues from the Expedition Team are already looking forward to our first landing in the Falkland Islands to show our guests the fantastic wildlife in true expedition style.

Our photographer Lu Davidson presented the last lecture of the day to give everyone a chance to improve their photographic skills. She is a professional filmmaker and photographer and has a huge amount of gorgeous landscape and wildlife pictures in her archives. It is sometimes fairly easy to transform a simple picture in a fantastic shot just by turning the camera slightly, by choosing another point of view or by just waiting a few minutes for better light! Lu has a wealth of tips and tricks she is happy to share with everyone!

The wind had picked up slightly, but not too much to be considered critical for our Captain's Welcome Cocktail Party! Captain Adam presented his officers and proposed his toast for a wonderful and enjoyable cruise!