Day 6 |
Oct 14, 2013

At sea, on road to Santa Marta (Colombia)

By Maria Gomez-Berning, Marine Biologist

Weather: Sunny, partially cloudy
Air Temperature: High 28.9 °C / 84 °F

Today we woke up later than usual, as it is a day at sea on our way to Santa Marta. During our sail we could not only see some Boobies flying and catching fish around Silver Explorer, but also numerous dolphins! Before breakfast some of our early bird guests even saw a group of about 50 dolphins swimming along Silver Explorer. Later during lunch a couple of dolphins were following our ship, and during the ice cream social I saw another three of them that, we appeared as fast as they disappeared - what a beautiful welcome to Colombian waters!

After a delicious breakfast, I assisted Chris Cutler for his lecture about his four month-adventure on the Eastern Tropical Pacific onboard a research ship. He explained about fisheries of yellow fin tuna and how this practice also affects dolphin and seabird populations. He did a summary of the programs developed to protect dolphins, and what the project he joined did regarding this complex issue. Chris finished his lecture showing us various pictures of his trip, delighting us with a special story behind each one.

Later, Claire Allum, our anthropologist gave a lecture about the Taironas, a group of Colombian natives. She first demonstrated the devastating impact “European” illnesses had on the Amerindian cultures, and how they quickly spread through the continent. With this introduction, she set the context in which the Taironas’ descendants, the Koguis, developed. Claire also gave us insight in the towns and life of the ancient Taironas, showed us the advanced constructions they build, their ability for working metals, and their rich pottery.

After a lunch break, our botanist Hans-Peter Reinthaler gave another lecture on Caribbean biogeography. He explained what the “Caribbean” is and talked about its islands, diversity, plants and animals endemism. This also included a well documented summary about the geological history of the region, adaptive radiations and extinction events, and what actually remained of the original flora and fauna.

During the day, our staff assistant Travis, with his new haircut, was assisting our guests with future cruise bookings and questions. At 16:00 we had an ice cream party. After enjoying the ice cream specialities prepared by our chef Grant we went to The Theatre for a recap and briefing. We were provided with further details on the two excursions planned for tomorrow in Santa Marta, and with a really good stand-up comedy-recap prepared by our Expedition Staff. Kara also informed us about the fascinating ghost crabs we have seen in the islands, and Ray Stranagan gave us a taste of the upcoming video from this voyage. The night came to an end with a well-attended Venetian Society cocktail party and dinner.

I look forward to tomorrow, when we will visit one of my favorite places in Colombia: the Tayrona National Park!