Day 2 |
Jun 13, 2008

Day At Sea

By Stefan Kredel

It is our first day onboard the Prince Albert II and it became a bit bumpy during the night.  After we left the Thames last evening and went into the open water, the ship started moving a bit.  So, it was clear why there haven’t been too many of us for breakfast.  Or was it that the guests wanted to sleep in after all the travelling to the ship? Regardless, the day started and the first activity onboard was a lecturer by our Kiwi, Brent, who gave a very interesting talk about birding.  Before the lecture by Stefan about plate tectonics started, we could interrupt the educational program with a spa visit to learn about achieving beauty and wellness.

After a nice lunch, most of us took the chance for a small nap on the outer sundecks, and those who didn’t want to have a rest could join our expedition team in search for sea birds.  What surprised many of us was the high number of oil platforms that we passed during the day.

Our Californian biologist, Tony, gave a perfectly timed talk about tea, which was obviously followed straight afterwards by teatime (was it in this case then a “workshop”…?).  At 17:00, Brad and the whole expedition team invited us again to the Theatre for an informal, informative briefing.  Brent also recapped a bit about the birds that we saw during the day. 

Besides that, Christian and Stefan the two German lecturers (even though neither of them is living in Germany anymore) introduced a very interesting pilot project about outdoor activity.  They explained to us that over the trip some of us could use so-called “whispers”.  If, for example, Brent wants to go birding with some of the guests, they will be able to listen easily to Brent’s directions, comments and explanations without any loud talking (which would obviously disturb the wildlife) by utilizing a receiver with an earpiece.  This is, as mentioned, a pilot project to see how it works in the field, and should it be proved successful, it will be introduced in the future as a standard tool on any of our outings. 

A bit later, at 19:00, we were once again invited into the Theatre.  This time Captain Bencina invited us to the official Captain Welcome Party for the maiden voyage of the Prince Albert II.  We were introduced to all of the main officers onboard and also informed that it was actually Captain Bencina’s last evening on the ship.  He will leave us tomorrow in Newcastle, as planed, for his vacations.  And so, we were also introduced to the new Captain who will take over the command tomorrow.  Even though Captain Ulrich Demel is new to Silversea, he has many decades of experience as captain sailing in both the north and south polar regions.

The cocktail party was followed by another superb dinner, and since the sea became much calmer and many guests also became a bit more used to the movement of the ship, the bar was quite busy this evening.