Day 14 |
Aug 12, 2008

Day at Sea

By Chris Srigley, General Naturalist

Morning Position: 54°51,97 N, 56°58,34 W

This morning the Prince Albert II had an air of calm. With a day at sea ahead of us, most onboard opted to remain in bed for some extra shuteye. Those who started their day as per the schedule we have become accustomed to, had assumed their positions, reading in the Observation Lounge, catching up on the news of the last few days or the morning ritual of laps out on Deck 6.

With the sun trying to poke through a blanket of clouds, a whisper of a breeze, temperatures of 12°C and a quiet sea, it made being out on deck watching for wildlife an enjoyable task. A way to pass time while awaiting Susan Langley’s talk titled, “Whaling and Codfish and Basques, Oh My!” in which she discussed these two powerful economic forces that drove the expansion and exploration of the world’s seas, and how the Basques led the field on the North Atlantic. As always, Susan’s lecture was well presented. We left The Theatre with a real understanding of Basque history in the Maritimes. After Susan’s lecture, a few of us headed back out on deck in hopes of seeing Cetaceans, which seem to have been eluding us. With all of the amazing sightings we have had over the past days, it is hard to imagine the whales would avoid us as much as they have. These days at sea are always a great time to look back over the trip to date with a cup of coffee and watch the waves go by. Of course the dominant topic in conversation was Akpatok Island and our Polar Bears and Northern Lights, which we had all hoped to see.

While some enjoyed the outer decks, others joined our Executive Chef Sean and Head Sommelier Karolina in the Panorama Lounge for a food and wine pairing presentation.

As our morning passed along, it was indeed time for another of the wonderful lectures put on by the expedition staff. This time Dr. Claudia Holgate was to present “Climate Change: What Is It and Should We Be Worried?” Always a hot topic when traveling to the Polar Regions of the world, this talk was well attended. Claudia walked us through the science behind it and what we should be expecting globally from this. This lecture was thoroughly enjoyed by all in attendance, leaving us with much to discuss over our lunch!

Looking out the windows of The Restaurant, it was obvious that our cloud cover was on the move, and as lunch passed, so did they. We were left with beautiful clear skies and a fantastic temperature of 18°C. I am sure those who chose the sun deck for lunch were feeling great about their decision!

With the seas being as calm as the ship had been all morning, it was nice to see several bird species gracing us with their presence. Atlantic Puffin, Northern Gannets and Northern Fulmars were all seen flying by, while a Thick Billed Murre was seen with its chick in tow, sailing for parts unknown. On the sun deck we even had a little White Winged Cross Bill take a rest on a table, being so far from shore I am sure this bird could use the rest. Almost as a cue for those of us out on deck, the little White Winged Cross Bill flew off, prompting us to glance at our watches. It was almost time for our photographer Camille Seaman, along with guest David Murray, to talk to us about photo editing, cropping and other basics of what to do once we have the photo. 

As Camille finished up in The Theatre, many of us headed out onto the decks once again, enjoying the sunshine, while others made their way to the Panorama Lounge for afternoon tea and the smooth sounds of Daryl as he tickled the ivories. We gathered once again The Theatre for our briefing of tomorrow’s activities in Battle Harbor and L’Anse aux Meadows, and a quick recap form the lecture staff. With that, “bon appétit” was called, and we all prepared for another wonderful meal in The Restaurant! An early start in morning will have us counting sheep early tonight.