Day 2 |
Jul 31, 2008

Day at Sea

By Claudia Holgate, Environmental Lecturer

Temperature: 10.8C

Pressure: 1017hPa

Wind: 16.7km/h easterly wind

Co-ordinates: 630 48’ 44’’N, 320 59’ 50’’W

Somewhere between Iceland and Greenland in the North Atlantic

After leaving Reykjavik last night, we went right into our first full day at sea, through the notorious Demark Strait. Many seasoned travellers will tell you that the Denmark Strait is often rougher than the Drake Passage, and although there was a certain amount of rolling through the night it was nothing that anybody had any problems with. Even our Captain commented on the smooth sailing we had encountered thus far. The reason for this is the high-pressure system sitting over us at the moment, and we are hoping that it will remain like this for our first day of excursions in Greenland tomorrow.

The weather today, although calm, is fairly foggy and although the visibility cleared up as the day progressed, not a lot of wildlife was seen. Our ever-vigilant ornithologist, Brent Stephenson, spotted a sperm whale early in the morning, but it did not hang around for many people to get a good view. A few fulmars were gliding around the ship keeping to their name as the “Albatross of the North”, otherwise the marine wildlife sightings were fairly limited.

After a sleep-in and leisurely breakfast, we had the mandatory safety drill, where everyone was shown how to wear their lifejackets and told what to do in the event of an emergency on board. Even though this is an unlikely event, International Maritime Law requires that all passengers have the drill and safety briefing. This was also a good opportunity to brief our new guests on the finer points of Zodiac operations, as we will be using Zodiacs for our first landing tomorrow.

After a 15-minute break from the safety briefing, we had our first lecture of the day “Greenland – Nature and History” by our guest lecturer, Jon Sigurdsson. This was a great introduction to Greenland and the areas we are going to visit. Jon gave us interesting information on the population (a whole 56,000 people), the fact that Greenland has the oldest rocks in the world at 3.7 billion years (who measures these things?) and the fact that no towns are connected by road – one has to go by boat, plane or helicopter. Jon also told us about the mythical creature, the Tupilaq, who you could get to kill your enemy by overturning their kayak, but if your enemy’s energy was stronger than the Tupilaq, it would come back and kill you (quite a risk you take!). Now that we have an idea of where we are going and what we are going to see, the first-timers on Silversea were invited to a tea in the Observation Lounge with some members of the expedition staff.

After a fabulous lunch, we had another lecture, this time on birds, entitled ”Birding 101: An Introduction to Tweetie Birds and the Weird People Who Watch Them”. This was presented by our ornithologist, Brent, and it is just as well that he gave the title to his talk, so that we are not accused of calling him weird. This was a most interesting talk about what you need to watch birds and the birds we are likely to see on this expedition.

Just in case we are hungry, thirsty or in the mood for some good music, tea was offered in the Panorama Lounge to the soothing background music of our pianist Daryl.

Recap and briefing on tomorrow’s events was followed by the Captain’s introduction of the senior officers of the Prince Albert II, which was followed by the Captain’s cocktail party and dinner, where everyone could show off their most elegant attire and enjoy another special meal prepared by the Executive Chef, Sean Emslie.

Tomorrow we reach Greenland; we can’t wait…