Day 8 |
Aug 14, 2013

At sea, en route to Canada

By Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist

Co-ordinates: N 60º55.5', W 052º18'
Weather: Cloudy to sunny
Air Temperature: 5ºC 
Pressure: 1002 hPa 
Wind: 18 knots

Today we spent the day the sailing west across the Davis Strait as we crossed north of the Labrador Sea from Greenland to Canada. By the end of the day, at approximately midnight, we will be sailing into Canadian waters, leaving Greenland behind.

The day started with a nice relaxing breakfast, followed by a lecture by Christian Walter entitled “August Petermann and the Second German North-Polar Expedition”. In the mid-19th century this german cartographer became very prominent in Great Britain, proposing several ways to find the lost Franklin Expedition and to reach the North Pole. He was able to organize several expeditions and today Christian spoke about the second one, as we have travelled along part of their route.

This informative lecture was followed by a very funny cooking demonstration hosted by our executive chef Christian Armster. Christian taught our guests how to prepare some special german pancakes. People were in stitches with his witty and dry german humour.

After lunch Kara Weller presented her “Life in the Cold” lecture. Cold climates require many strategies to enable survival. Kara introduced us to many different animal species and the ways in which they manage to live when the temperature drops.

And then in the late afternoon, continuing with the life in cold places theme, Uli Kunz gave a lecture entitled “Cold Water Worlds - into the depths of the North Atlantic”. Uli, a marine biologist, scientific diver and underwater photographer, goes each year on scuba diving expeditions to remote corners of the world, from submerged cave systems in Mexico to Coral Reefs in Norway. Yes, I did say that, Norway. Uli recently took part in an expedition that discovered some amazing coral reef systems in the norwegian fjords. He told us about it and showed us some amazing photographs of this expedition and his diving trips to Svalbard and other places in the North Atlantic.

As the day progressed the conditions continued to improve. The wind subsided as did the swell, and by the mid afternoo n the sky had cleared up to a cloudless blue by dusk. The sunset today was magnificent and I saw the best and clearest green flash I have ever seen. Sometimes you doubt as to whether you really saw the green flash or not. Today there was no doubt. It was visible for about 2 seconds before the sun disappeared behind the horizon.

But that was not the end of it... By about 10 pm it was getting dark, and given the clear skies we were on the lookout for northern lights. I am not kidding when I say that I have never seen such an active and colourful display of aurora borealis. Robin made an announcement and just as all our guests were on the aft deck, the lights shone really bright and danced like green and purple curtains shimmering across the sky. It was simply magnificent. What a great way to end a day.