Day 1 |
Oct 18, 2009

Guayaquil, Ecuador

By Claire Allum, Archaeologist

Co-ordinates: 02°17’53”N, 79°54’52”W

Weather: Warm and humid with overcast sky

Embarkation day is busy and exciting. Crew members are leaving and new ones arriving. Between saying good-bye and greeting old friends, all suites and public areas are cleaned and decorated. A large van of supplies arrives at the port, and boxes of food, drinks, paper supplies, toiletries and other necessities disappear into the Prince Albert II’shold.

A member of the Expedition Staff, Chris Srigley, a Canadian from Toronto, has arrived. He will not lecture but spend much of his time on The Bridge scouting for marine life such as dolphins, whales and seabirds and talking to the guests about what they are seeing.

Guests arrived in the early afternoon. New faces and voices joined the few who stayed on after Central America. They drifted slowly into the Panorama Lounge, some slightly hesitant, others with the assurance of Venetian Club members, almost all tired from long plane trips. After handing in passports, receiving their suite key and being photographed… Lou’s soft music, a glass of champagne and the mountain of hors-oeuvres Executive Chef Leo prepared, relaxed them.

Today an American couple arrived without luggage. It didn’t make it onto the plane in Miami. It will be Callao, Peru before it will catch up with them. Nevertheless, I saw relief in their tired faces when Robin West, the Expedition Leader, assured them that Silversea’s shore agent would take over dealing with the matter. I think they may be visiting the Onboard Boutique for toiletries and clothing over the next couple of days.
At four o’clock Captain Peter Stahlberg warned us of the upcoming 4:15 emergency drill. When the Emergency Alarm sounded—seven short blasts followed by one long one—I grabbed my life jacket and coat and walked quickly to The Theatre muster area. It was my chance to see all the guests with whom I will spend the next two weeks visiting the ports along the Pacific coasts of Peru and Ecuador. Their mood was festive and, along with the serious duty of getting in and out of lifejackets, there was laughter and friendly conversation. Friendships were already being made. Safety Officer Rado gave us his lecture on shipboard safety.
In the evening I began preparing pre-caps for the next few ports: Salaverry, the Mochica temples of the Sun and the Moon, and the Chimú city of Chan Chan; Supe, Caral, the oldest city in the Americas; Callao, a visit to the sacred site of Pachacamac; and Parakas, a visit to the Inca administrative center, Tambo Colorado. For an archaeologist this voyage is a dream come true, and already a couple of guests have told me how much they are looking forward to visiting such world famous and important ancient sites.