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Day 2 |
Jan 04, 2012

At sea, Drake Passage

By Uli Kunz – Oceanographer and Zodiac-Driver

Position: 58°58’ S, 61°25’ W
Air temperature: 5 °C, 41.0 °F
Water temperature: 6 °C, 42.8 °F
Air pressure: 981 hPa
Wind speed: 25 km/h

The ship was hardly moving during the day, the waves in the Drake Passage were fairly small and came from the stern, which made the sailing on our first day at sea comparatively comfortable.

Quite a lot of people went to the outer decks in the morning and enjoyed the sight of dozens 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 Franz Bairlein presented an incredible amount of information in The Theatre in his lecture titled “Birds of Our Voyage”. His enthusiasm for seabirds and penguins is highly contagious, so it will be no surprise if all our guests become true birders themselves at the end of the voyage!

Before lunch, our historian Peter Damisch gave a talk about the exploration and discovery of Antarctica. He showed pictures and drawings of the various expeditions during the last centuries and talked about failure and victory in that remote part of the world, which we are going to see and explore on our voyage. The early explorers and seaman sailed over a vast ocean and discovered and conquered remote islands at high human costs. Peter gave the example of an expedition which only 14 of 70 sailors survived! At Silversea, he added with a wink, we try to keep the survival rate at about 85%...

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 on the frozen continent to show our guests the fantastic wildlife in true expedition style.

Our photographer Richard Sidey presented the last lecture of the day to give everyone a chance to improve their photographic skills. Rich is a professional filmmaker and photographer and has a huge amount of gorgeous landscape and wildlife pictures in his archives. It is sometimes fairly easy to transform a simple picture into 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 or a better situation! Rich has a wealth of tips and tricks he 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 Alex presented his officers and proposed his toast for a wonderful and enjoyable cruise!

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