Day 12 |
Jun 10, 2012

At sea, en route to Hofn, Iceland 

By Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist

Co-ordinates: N 63º48.3', W 012º35.6'
Weather: Overcast Air Temperature: 4ºC Pressure: 1023 hPa Wind: Force 7 NE wind, 28-33 knots

This morning we woke up in a different time zone, (GMT), which means that last night everybody had an extra hour of sleep, and so after a long night I got up to a leisurely breakfast before heading to the first lecture of the day.

Our on board glaciologist Luciano Bernacchi gave his informative “Introduction to Glaciers”, where he explained how glaciers behave, why they are formed and where you can find them. Quite a relevant topic since tomorrow we will be seeing glaciers associated with the Vatnajokull ice cap, the largest glacial system in Iceland.

At 11:30 Chris Harbard presented his “Birds are Brilliant”. A most interesting lecture where Chris explained what makes birds special, from their colours to their beaks. With his distinctive wit and humour, Chris had a close look at our fascinating feathered friends.

The Hotel Department prepared a very special surprise for lunch today. Executive Chef Christian and his team, together with Restaurant Manager Laszlo and his waiting team, took us for a culinary journey around the world. They prepared food from many different countries. Quite a spread. A real treat.

And then at 2 pm in the light of our arrival in Iceland, Stefan Kredel gave a fun and informative lecture entitled “Volcanism”. He covered the different types of volcanism, their products and side effects.

At about 3 pm the Silver Explorer approached the submarine shelf that surrounds Iceland, a 1.000 metre -very steep- underwater drop off. The water depth goes from 1200 to 200 metres in a very short distance. From experience we know that those areas are typically good feeding grounds for whales, obstacles to the currents that produce upwelling of nutrients and food, which gets concentrated along those ridges, quite often congregating whales.

Captain Alexander Golubev sailed the Silver Explorer westwards over this ridge for 3 hours, while the Expedition team stood watch looking for cetaceans. Unfortunately with a 3 to 4 metres swell, near gale conditions and a lot of white caps and spray in the air, it was very difficult to find the spout or the dorsal fin of a whale. We did try, but to no avail.

Before dinner, as usual, the Expedition team hosted a Recap & Briefing, followed by a mouth-watering dinner.