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Day 2 - February 12, 2011 - Drake Passage en route to Antarctica

By by Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist

Co-ordinates: S 57º 36.5’, W 064º 16.6’
Weather: A sunny morning, evolving into partly cloudy conditions towards an overcast sky.
Air Temperature: 9ºC
Sea Temperature: 7ºC
Pressure: 1008 hPa
Wind: A strong breeze blowing at 25 knots.


This has been one of the calmest Drake Passages I have ever experienced. It has been as good as it gets; we have had a moderate swell of 2 metres, which is considered very good conditions for this part of the world, and the Prince Albert II has been gracefully gliding along at good speed towards the South Shetland Islands.

It was nice seeing so many people in The Restaurant at breakfast this morning, a good beginning goes a long way, and then at 10 am, Ken Knowles gave a very interesting lecture on Albatrosses entitled, “Sailors Who Have Died at Sea”. Are they the largest bird in the world? How can they fly for days without flapping? How to tell the different species apart? These and many other questions were answered by Ken in this informative talk.

Many of us took the opportunity before lunch to wander the decks and watch the magnificent albatrosses and petrels flying close to the ship. There were several species spotted, including the Wandering Albatross, Grey Headed Albatross, Black-Browed Albatross, White-Chinned petrels and Cape petrels.

At 11:45 our Assistant Expedition Leader and Venetian Society Representative Jarda Versloot hosted the First Timers Cocktail. She invited to The Theatre all those guests who had never sailed with Silversea before to welcome them on board and explain what the Venetian Society is all about.

After a great lunch, which I had at the Outdoor Grill taking advantage of the beautiful sunny day and calm conditions, we all got together in The Theatre for two mandatory briefings. Our Expedition Leader Robin West started with the IAATO briefing. IAATO stands for International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators. The IAATO regulations are a set of rules that all visitors to Antarctica must follow – they have been adopted by most tour operators in the region in attempts to safeguard and protect he wildlife of Antarctica form any potential impacts from tourism.

This briefing was followed by a Zodiac briefing, where Robin outlined the details of how we run our Zodiac operations. At 5 pm our resident Photographer, Kristine Hannon, shared her compositional and technical advice for landscape and wildlife photography in her talk “Getting Started”.

At 7 pm Captain Aleksander Golubyev invited all guests to his Captain’s Welcome Cocktail Party. He introduced his senior officers and welcomed everybody on board as a prelude to a sumptuous Captain’s Welcome Dinner, hosted by Executive Chef Norbert Ruhdorfer and Maitre d’Hotel Marcello Benelli.

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