Day 8 |
Oct 25, 2009

At Sea En Route To Arica, Chile

By JJ Apéstegui, Ornithologist

Co-ordinates: 16°47’S, 073°16’W

Weather: Cloudy, Seas Beaufort 3

Air Temperature: 19C

Sea Temperature: 18C

Pressure: 1017 Hpa

Wind: 10 Knots, SE

It was another leisurely sailing day on our way to Arica in Chile, which gave us the opportunity to continue the lecture program onboard.

This started with Hans-Peter, whose talk entitled: “Dry, drier, driest – The Atacama Desert” described the Mars-like landscapes of this area of the world where some river beds have not seen rain in thousands of years! And which we want to visit tomorrow, the driest desert in the whole world, with salty lagoons and high peaks, and yet, where the plant life has managed to adapt and evolve with surprising diversity.

I was next with a lecture entitled: “Bird Migration, or Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?”
In this one I describe some of the ideas regarding the migration of birds, why they do it, how, whether following a particular route all the time or change it depending on the circumstances, how different families of birds take up the challenge in different ways, and the theories regarding their amazing ability to orientate in the most diverse of situations.

After lunch it was the turn of Claire, our onboard Archaeologist, who has been quite busy this voyage since we have been focusing so much on ancient sites. Her talk was called:
“The Oldest Mummies in the World” and detailed the mummies of the “Chinchorro” culture, which were artificially created and more elaborately prepared centuries before the Egyptians did it. Claire explained who these people were and what we have learned from them.

In between lectures, I had some chances to stretch on deck and watch the abundant bird life that occurs in these cold Humboldt Current waters: Markham’s Storm-petrels, Shearwaters and two species of Albatross (Grey-headed and Black-browed). I even had an opportunity to do some whale watching; thanks to the Captain’s competent navigation we encountered a small pod of Fin Whales.

Later this afternoon, the Sommelier Predrag gave a short seminar on combining food and wine, as a preamble to the night’s dinner, which, as usual, was served after the recap. Today’s recap consisted of a preview of Richard’s expedition DVD and a briefing for the next day’s excursions in Arica.