Day 2 |
Nov 02, 2009

At Sea

By Robin Aiello, Marine Biologist

Weather: bright sunshine, calm seas with some swell

Air Temperature: 15°C

Wind: 15 – 20 knots

Last night, the Captain had warned us that the weather predictions for today were rough seas with strong winds, but as soon as I woke up I knew the forecast had been wrong – the sun was shining brightly and the ship wasn’t rocking too badly!

In fact, today turned out to be a magnificent day at sea. There was barely a cloud in the sky all day. But there were plenty of seabirds. On several occasions throughout the day, as I strolled the outer decks talking with guests, a movement would catch our eye and we would turn to watch magnificent albatrosses gliding by. Sometime, they were only a few meters away – a truly breathtaking sight!

I spent some time looking for whales, but unfortunately didn’t see any – but our photographer, Richard Sidey, happened to be in the right place at the right time and saw a Fin whale surface only a few meters from the ship. According to Richard, the whale seemed to be surprised to find the ship so close and quickly plunge dived below the surface again. I kept hoping to see another encounter like this, but just wasn’t so lucky.

The only scheduled activity in the morning was a lecture by JJ Apestegui (our birder). He showed us a bunch of fantastic photos of some of the seabirds that we will most likely see in Chile. He also spent some time discussing the best way to use our binoculars for spotting birds.

During a delicious buffet lunch I had fun catching up with several guests that were repeaters, having traveled with us on other cruises during the past year. It is always such a delight to see familiar faces come onboard again!

After lunch we had the mandatory Zodiac briefing. Of the 101 guests onboard for this voyage, it seemed like nearly 1/3 of them have never been in a Zodiac before. I always enjoy taking guests on the Zodiacs for their first time and watching them get over their initial fears and gradually start smiling with pleasure as they get comfortable with zooming along over the surface of the ocean. Even getting drenched with sea water is fun in a Zodiac! (Believe it or not!)

At the end of the briefing, Robin West (our Expedition Leader) gave a brief overview of the tomorrow’s activity – a tour of Niebla, Chile. At 700 pm, Captain Peter Stahlberg invited all guests to The Theatre for a Welcome Cocktail Party, followed by dinned in The Restaurant. It was a fun evening – with everyone dressed in their finery and looking very glamorous. Robin West introduced the Captain, who, in turn, introduced his key officers. He then raised a toast to a successful voyage in the Chilean Fjords and hoped for good weather and calm seas.

Dinner, as always, was delicious, with the choice of the main dish being either Maine lobster with drawn butter or filet mignon cooked to perfection - always a tough choice to make!!!