Day 10 |
Jul 21, 2008

At Sea, En Route to Jan Mayen, Norway

By Dr. Brent Stephenson, Orinthologist

Noon position: 74 degrees 39.1’ N and 001 degrees 25.1’ E

Yet again we awoke to relatively calm seas. The Prince Albert II was making good time and with a continuing good forecast, we expect to be at Jan Mayen tomorrow morning. Thus, for many of us this was a day at sea to be used on catching up on a little rest and enjoy the lectures and other activities lined up for the day.

I began the day with a lecture entitled “Extinctions and Rediscoveries”. I firstly outlined the depressing truth about the global extinction crisis we currently face, with over 10% of the world’s birds being threatened with extinction. However, my lecture not all was gloom and doom, with stories of bird species that have been saved and several species that have been rediscovered after supposedly being extinct. One of these birds is the New Zealand storm-petrel, a small seabird known from only three museum specimens collected in the 1800s and not recorded in almost 150 years. I detailed my part in the rediscovery, having organized a seabird watching trip and managing to take photos of the first bird seen. It was these photos that led to the official rediscovery of the bird. I also outlined my involvement in current work that are trying to find where they breed.

Late morning, Head Sommelier, Karolina Deric, and Executive Chef, Sean Emslie, gave a session in the Panorama Lounge on pairing food with wine. They presented an excellent Spicy Asian Duck Salad with a tasty Vietnamese dressing. This they paired with a 2005 Nero D’Avola from Principi Di Butera, Sicilia. It was obvious that the pairing was a success, with everyone savoring the distinctive flavors of both the food and red wine.

After lunch, Stephanie Kuhar our hairdresser and beauty specialist gave out tips on applying makeup. Boasting the fastest makeover on the high seas, we were impressed to see that not just the ladies attended, as Juan Carlos Restrepo our resident Geologist attended, and looking all the better for it!

Then Dr. Tony Huntley lectured on the deep diving feats of marine mammals, especially focusing on the extraordinary dives of the Elephant seal. These incredible animals can dive to a depth of 1500 meters and stay down for up to one hour. Unfortunately, the whales did not realize that Tony was discussing their abilities, and forgot to turn up and put on a show today. Hopefully, as we approach Jan Mayen, we may have more luck on the marine mammal-spotting front.

Our resident Photographer, Camille Seamen, then critiqued some of our very own photos, suggesting what we should be looking for when taking snaps, why some images work better than others, and several other photographic tips. Our Expedition Leader, Conrad Combrink, then gave us details on the landing for tomorrow and also whetted the appetite with an outline of our first day in Iceland. So much to look forward to!