Noon position 16° 50’ 54” N and 99° 54’ 12” W
It was not just the idea of plying the Sea of Cortez, retracing part of John Steinbeck and Ed Ricketts’ 1940 expedition so well described in The Log from the Sea of Cortez, looking for our own expeditionary exploits, but for many guests it was also an outside temperature of 30 degrees Celsius (=86 degrees Fahrenheit) with close to 73% humidity that made coming aboard the Prince Albert II a very enticing idea.
Cool air and refreshing drinks, next to a nice little buffet, awaited guests in the Panorama Lounge. The formalities of dropping off one’s passport, receiving the suite keycards, and having one’s picture taken did not take much time before “getting lost” on the ship, as proposed by our Expedition Leader Suzanna de Machado. The idea was, of course, not to get lost, but to explore the ship and find out where to do this and that, or when to do what and how…
Shortly after 4 p.m. the last lines were cast, and the Prince Albert II was on its’ way to the open ocean. Captain Fabien Roche warned us, that despite the name “Pacific Ocean” the ocean was not necessarily going to be pacific, and we should always have one hand for the ship and one for ourselves. Some of us whiled the time away with a (fruit-) drink in the Observation Lounge, others found the privacy of their balconies refreshing, and a handful stood on the open deck, searching for marine life (how about jumping dolphins as farewell?) When the announcement for our mandatory safety-drill came over the loudspeaker, a sea of orange life-jackets convened in The Theatre to be mustered and to receive information about safety aboard.
At 6:30 p.m. Suzanna introduced some of the department heads aboard the Prince Albert II, and her Expedition Team, which consisted of 12 international staff members –biologists from Chile, Brazil, New Zealand, California, photographers from Australia and the US, generalists from Canada and Costa Rica, and others from the Netherlands, South Africa, and Easter Island.
Another visit to the Panorama Lounge and Daryl’s entertaining music was interrupted when the setting sun turned the sky a beautiful orangey color, giving our photographers a first chance at using their skills. Then it was time for the first (of many) delicious dinners.
Our guests seemed to agree that expedition cruising was the way to go – relatively calm seas, excellent food, fine wine, entertaining company, expert advise on what to do the following 12 days, an interesting itinerary sprinkled with a couple of social events on board; and – best of all (?) – the fact that one would be able to sleep-in the following day – a day at sea.
A few guests retreated soon after dinner to the comfort of their suites, as their journey to the ship had taken up significant time and energy, while others continued to enjoy the amenities of the Panorama Lounge.