Day 5 |
Jun 08, 2013

At Sea off the West Coast of Norway en route Lofoten Islands

By Peter W. Damisch, Historian, General Naturalist, Cartographer, Master Mariner

Co-ordinates: 65º48' N, 010º40' E
Weather: Partly clear with low winds and seas
Air Temperature: 10ºC
Pressure: 1007 hPa
Wind: 7 knots

After a great day hiking nearby or touring the beautiful city of Trondheim, a day at sea might seem a bit less active. However, there are always more than enough options to offer a wide range of fun and possibly educational activities.

I started out with a number of other staff in another training session with the ship’s Safety Officer. This type of important activity goes on somewhat ‘behind the scenes’ but is an on-going process to ensure all of the crew are ready to address any type of potential emergency. Even though many others and myself have been on board the Silver Explorer since her inaugural season, we can always learn something new or refresh a prior subject.

Next, I made time to attend a great presentation titled ‘Photo Tips’ given by Sue Flood, one of our professional on board photographers. She has literally travelled the world on behalf of the BBC, Getty and many other great institutions. The best part is that her focus this morning was on conveying a little bit of her extensive experience to help others improve their results during this voyage and many holidays to come. These wonderful insights included anticipating then setting up the shot, composition as well as speed and aperture settings for both advanced SLR in addition to point and shoot cameras.

The theatre was then quickly rearranged to support a cooking demonstration by our Executive Chef and his energetic and surprisingly funny galley team. They always come up with an interesting topic as well as an unexpected surprise from time to time. Just the day before yesterday I was speaking with our Executive Chef about the recent ‘European Culinary Cruise’ on board Silver Explorer. Apparently it was a great deal of fun and when I learned of the details, I was quite disappointed to have missed it during my brief time off the ship.

Today’s lunch for me had to be a bit quicker than usual as I was up in the early afternoon to speak about Fridtjof Nansen, Renaissance Man. Speaking about this individual is pure joy for me as he is one of my true polar heroes. He started out as a world record skating champion as well as 12 time National Norwegian cross country skiing champion. Nansen followed up by leading the first team to cross Greenland, then led a multi-year science program to drift across the Arctic ocean by ship before sledging farther towards the North Pole than anyone else. He also invented sledges, cookers and oceanographic sample bottles still in use after more than one century. Nansen could have rested on his laurels but went on to lead his country to independence, serve as Ambassador and be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his humanitarian efforts with refugees. Unfortunately, his name is not well known outside of Norway and today was a perfect time convey some this person’s long lasting contributions to the world community.

Assistant Expedition Team Leader Jarda was next up in the Panorama Lounge to host a team trivia contest. Sometimes members of the Expedition Team can join guests to provide moral support but not today as the location was completely full of people trying to learn something new within a completely different context.

Our final full presentation for this afternoon was given by Luke Kenny, our on board fisheries expert. You may never have met this critically important type of individual before but his professional skills are fundamental to maintaining a proper balance of stocks within the worldwide fishing industry. Luke spoke about ‘Norway and its Fisheries’, a topic that has been one of the key foundations of the Norwegian economy for centuries. Luke has great insight as well as a wry sense of humour. In particular I learned a bit more about fisheries management, particularly within the cod and herring fleets which are still a major part of Norwegian life.

We finished the day by hosting a reception for first time voyagers with SilverSea. This gives us a great chance to answer questions about this or other cruises as well as get to better know our new guests on board. Just as this event was nearing completion, our Expedition Leader Robin came onto the public address system to announce that we had just crossed the Arctic Circle and were now officially in the Arctic Polar Region!!! All this provided a nice segue way into our standard evening recap where we can provide a brief overview of tomorrow’s events at the Lofoten Islands as well as offer some short, instructional segments regarding newly discovered coral reefs in Norway as well as a more clear definition of the Arctic and a review of potential whale species that we may be able to observe in these remote but vastly beautiful waters of the far North.