Day 2 |
Sep 02, 2008

Day At Sea

By Brent Stephenson, Ornithologist

Co-ordinates: 23° 10.3’N; 083° 38.8’ W
Weather: Beautiful, warm sunny day with a light breeze and perfect cruising conditions

After heavy rain during the night, it was a pleasant surprise to wake to a warm and fine, but steamy, morning. During the night hundreds of migrating warblers and other birds were seen following the ship, attracted to the ship’s lights during the rainy and inclement weather. At this time of the year hundreds of thousands of birds that have bred in northern North America are heading southwards across the Gulf of Mexico to their warmer wintering sites in Central and South America.

So, with this in mind, the outside decks and rigging were checked bright and early, with reports from the Bosuns of many birds having been around the ship at sunrise. A Palm warbler and a Northern parula were still onboard after sunrise, both small species of warbler, and it was incredible to think that the ship was almost 50 miles from land in any direction. The fact that these tiny birds complete this migration twice a year is quite incredible.

A pleasant breakfast was served in The Restaurant, after which our resident Ornithologist Dr Brent Stephenson gave the first lecture of the voyage. He discussed birding and explained why people undertake this pastime, as well as the tools and techniques these people use. The second part of the lecture then outlined some of the bird species we are likely to encounter during this voyage through Central America. With the sightings this morning and yesterday, the bird list is underway!

Shortly before lunch, Robin West, our resident snorkel master, gave a briefing on how to make the most from our potential snorkeling activities. In this part of the world the undersea scenery can be spectacular, so even those who had never snorkeled before were enthused and raring to go!

The ‘First Timers’ cocktail party was hosted by our Assistant Expedition Leader, Esther Bruns, in the Observation Lounge. So even before lunch had begun we were able to learn about the Venetian Society and enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. After lunch, we all then enjoyed some quiet time, the calm seas and warm weather before a mandatory Zodiac briefing in the late afternoon. Our Expedition Leader Suzana Machado D’Oliveira outlined these fine rubber craft and the safe operation of them. Really, these boats are the secret to the success of expedition travel, allowing us to explore areas we would otherwise never be able to enjoy.

This was all followed by the Captain’s Welcome Cocktail party with our Captain, Fabien Roche, welcoming us onboard the Prince Albert II and toasting to our Silversea Expedition. Of course this was all followed by an excellent Captain’s Welcome dinner in The Restaurant.