Day 7 |
Sep 14, 2013

At sea

By Chris Harbard, Ornithologist

Co-ordinates: 61°37'N ; 49°40'W
Weather: Blue sky with clouds
Air Temperature: 2.7°C, 36.9°F
Pressure: 1010 hpa
Wind: 3.5kph

I awoke to a bright morning with the sun shining down from a partly cloudy sky. A great start to any day at sea. The sea conditions were good and there were seabirds flying along with us, mainly Northern Fulmars. With breakfast well underway, a shout of 'Whales!' went up and everyone who got out on deck was treated to a wonderful view of a very close Fin Whale, the second largest whale in the world!

After breakfast came a talk entitled, 'Behind the scenes on Planet Earth,' from our onboard lecturer Sue Flood, former BBC film producer and wildlife photographer. Sue gave us a fabulous insight into filming in Arctic and Antarctic conditions, as well as in the warmer South Pacific. I am not sure that I would find the freezing conditions as much fun as she made them sound! As an extra treat for the morning, the Captain opened up the Bridge to guests – a chance to see how Silver Explorer is controlled on a day-to-day basis and to learn about such things as how to estimate wave height (which I never knew before).

Before lunch, our Executive Chef Grant demonstrated how to make Beef Rossini and Tiramasu with instructions on suitable wines to accompany these plates from Head Sommelier Rama. A delightful lunch was then available in the Restaurant with fabulous sunlit views of snow-capped hills as we sailed southwards.

The afternoon's educational entertainment was a talk from Chris Cutler called, 'Baleen and Blubber – the cetaceans of Greenland,' which gave an in-depth look at these incredible creatures including not just their ways of life, but also how they were caught and uses of baleen in fashion.

At tea time there was team trivia hosted by Claudia help keep our brains active. She asked 20 questions about weather and temperature which were both vexing but also educational when the full answers were given. Now I know what a Stevenson Screen is! Before dinner, I joined the 'First Timers' for a cocktail party in the Panorama Lounge. I finished the evening with a marvellous dinner menu that included reindeer set against the backdrop of a setting sun that slowly darkened to a bright two-thirds moon! But wait, there was one final treat! Around 11 o’clock, the announcement was made that the Aurora Borealis was on view outside giving everyone the opportunity to see this very special northern spectacle.