Day 4 |
Oct 12, 2013

At Sea

By Claire Allum, Archaeologist /Anthropologist

Co-ordinates: En route to Los Roques, Venezuela
Weather: blue sky, a few cumulous clouds and slight wind
Air Temperature: 28.2 C / 82 F

It was a day at sea and so I got to sleep in. Breakfast was an hour later than normal, at 8:00 am. That didn’t stop Chris, out on-board naturalist, who is up on deck every morning at 3:30 looking for birds. I ran into him at breakfast and he told us all what he had seen.

Breakfast on the Silver Explorer is an experience. Fresh fruit juices, specialized teas, and coffee start the meal. There is a wonderful assortment of fresh-baked breads, pastries, yoghurt, mueslis, packaged cereals, dried fruits, nuts, fresh fruits, lox, roll-mops, pickled herring and cheeses. For those who like a hot morning meal, there is scrambled eggs, bacon, fried mushrooms, omelets to order and a variety of other hot offerings. It is hard not to eat too much, but then, breakfast is “the most important meal of the day.”

At 10:00 am I went to hear Patri, our on-board ornithologist, talk about the seabirds we were likely to see on this voyage. In her enthusiasm, Patri almost becomes the birds she is talks about, dancing and singing on the stage as she imitates mating behaviors and the sounds her beloved birds make.

Just before lunch, I watched Executive Chef Grant give a cooking demonstration. I learned a lot from his cooking tips, how to keep knives sharp, how to dice onions and techniques for getting the most flavor out of foods and spices.

One of the advantages of a day at sea on the Silver Explorer is being able to make full use of all Silver Explorer’s amenities. During the day the Observation Lounge was constantly full of guests, either looking out at where we were headed or reading books they had selected from the two on-board libraries: fiction in the Observation Lounge and nonfiction/destination books from the Library/IT Lounge. The Spa manager and hair stylist also had a busy day. Beaches, sand and sun are hard on hair and nails.

As we sailed north of the Venezuelan coast we passed many small, rocky islands. Out on deck, the birders were in paradise. These islands were home to many species of sea birds and they were flying all around the ship. I recognized masked and brown boobies, frigates and a species of tern. We watched the boobies diving for fish and looked at the birds’ rooting areas on the islands through binoculars. It was a sunny day, and those guests not watching for birds on deck opted to sunbath or enjoy the Jacuzzis on deck 6 astern.

At 2 pm Kara, our on-board naturalist, gave an interesting lecture on sharks. I learned that sharks played and that smell—which is more like tasting than smelling in water—is their strongest sense. Apparently they use sound for long distance reconnaissance, smell for medium distances, and a combination of light sensitivity and bad vision for close up. I’ll try and remember that next time I find a shark peering at me.

Kara’s lecture was followed by Maria’s lecture. She is our on-board marine biologist and she talked about the different kinds of reefs in the Caribbean and the plant and animal life they support. When we visit Los Roques, Venezuela, tomorrow, we will have an opportunity to see all three typesof reefs: atoll, barrier and fringing.

My day ended with Robin, the Expedition Leader’s, briefing for tomorrow’s Venezuela excursions. Interestingly, we had all felt a strong shudder through the ship at around 10 pm the night before and Robin told us we had felt an earthquake on the ship. It had been recorded at the Trinidad and Tobago Geological Survey and had registered over 6 on the Richter Scale. We had been only a few kilometres from the epicentre. Ife aboard the Silver Explorer is always exciting.