Day 7 |
Sep 22, 2012

At Sea, en route to Dakar

By Kara Weller, Biologist

Co-ordinates: 16° 01’ N – 21° 35’ W
Weather: sunny and clear
Air temperature: 30° C
Wind: 16 knots
Pressure: 1013 hPa

Although we lost one hour due to the time change last night, a morning at sea allowed us still to sleep in and spend a relaxing day onboard the Silver Explorer at leisure. The sun was shining and the seas were fairly calm with only the odd wave causing a bit of wobble to the motion of the ship.

Bird life was good today. We saw brown boobies that normally breed on Cape Verde flying around the ship, many of them trying to catch the ever-present flying fish. The fish were too clever for most of these birds however and watching them make sharp turns and swim away at angles when the boobies flew down towards the water was quite entertaining…at least for us, though no doubt not for the frustrated birds.

A very exciting and rare sighting of a Cape Verde shearwater, an endemic bird to the Cape Verde Islands, was made. Our onboard ornithologist Patri was jumping up and down with glee after this remarkable sighting.

The lecture program started off with Olga giving the first talk of the day. Her lecture entitled “The Sweet Side of Slavery” talked about the connection between the slave trade and the sugarcane trade – the only “sweet” thing that had any connection to slavery. As the slave trade penetrated further and deeper into the continental interior during the 18th century, it generated a culture of fear, instability and displacement that reverberates in western Africa to this day. It was a fascinating talk.

Later in the morning some of our Indian chefs onboard put on a marvelous cooking demonstration to showcase some of the flavors of India. In the Panorama Lounge they showed how to make 3 different things – delicious pokara, samosas and a makhani curry, which involved making your own pannier. Luckily for everyone after this mouth-watering demonstration there was curry served for lunch in The Restaurant.

After lunch Hans-Peter continued the lecture program with a look at Biodiversity. He talked about how many plant and animal species share our planet and looked at what we have lost and what we need for our own survival and why biodiversity is important to us all.

During tea time Stefan hosted the team trivia session with questions about geography and flags which tested our knowledge in a fun way.

The last lecture of the day was a birding lecture from Patri. She gave us a wonderful look at birds in human life and how they have influenced and played a big role in culture, art, religion and mythology. Birds have been closely tied to humanity throughout history.

During the course of the day The Bridge had been open for bridge tours, which many people took advantage of. It is always interesting to see the central working space from which the ship is run. Some people lingered there to enjoy the views, and others came in just for a few moments to simply see what it looked like.

As usual, in the evening we had a Recap & Briefing in which Robin described our plans for our tour in Dakar tomorrow, and some of the lecturing staff gave snippets of information about things pertinent to the day, such as the significance of the equinox, dolphin identification tips, and information about the boobies catching fish that we had watched today. This was followed by another marvelous dinner either in The Restaurant or outside under the stars.