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Day 2 - January 26, 2011 -  En route to Westpoint Island, Falkland Islands 

By by Luke Kenny, Fisheries Biologist

 

Co-ordinates: 52˚48.6’ S, 62˚39.8’ W
Weather: Fine; scattered clouds mostly on the horizon
Air Temperature: 7 °C, 44.6 °F (18:30 hrs)
Sea Temperature: 8 °C, 46.4 °F
Pressure: 1016.5 hPa
Wind: Calm

The day broke fine and clear and as the Prince Albert II steamed for the northwestern edge of the Falkland Islands. I popped along to the opening lecture of the voyage; “Sailors Who Have Died at Sea” by Ken Knowles our ornithologist. Sandwiched between recitations of albatross-related poetry, Ken talked a full house through the identifying features of the different albatross species that we encounter in these parts. I found just enough time to slip outside chasing the rumour of a distant cetacean sighting before joining my Expedition Team colleagues in The Theatre to welcome the first-time guests to the Prince Albert II. This is also an opportunity for the guests to get to know both the Expedition Team members as well as their fellows.

After another fine lunch, I attended the mandatory Zodiac Briefing. Here, Robin, our Expedition Leader, briefed the guests on landing procedures. My colleagues and I circulated through The Theatre assisting guests as they familiarized themselves with the correct use of the automatically inflating life jackets, before the Briefing switched to details on what to expect during tomorrow’s landings on both West Point and Saunders Islands.

The first day is one filled with preparations and I continued in such fashion, answering questions regarding attire and landing sites.

Later in the afternoon I attended the Photographic Tips lecture given by our ship photographer, Kristine. Speaking in layman’s terms, she gave us simple advice on how to improve our compositions and subject selections, and advised us to give our shutter finger a rest from time to time and just take in the sights and sounds around us.

Outside black-browed albatross settled on the water in “gams” as the sun began a lengthy descent toward the horizon. Petrels flitted over the gently rolling waves, dappling the surface where they stooped to pluck a morsel from the sea. The near-impossible to identify prions flapped past close to the surface. I completed several laps on Deck 6 before dressing in evening wear for the Captain’s Welcome Cocktail party. Here, the guests were introduced to a selection of senior officers, before we descended two decks to The Restaurant for yet another sumptuous meal.

As I turn for my berth, only the gentle and soft throb of the engine alerts me to the fact that I am aboard a ship, for the sea it seems is fast asleep.

 

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