Voyage Journal 7105 Day 2

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Day 2 - February 22, 2011 - At sea

By by Claudia Holgate, Climatologist

Co-ordinates: 58º31’S, 63º25’W
Weather: clear to cloudy with slight wind
Air Temperature: 4C
Pressure:1016
Wind:31m/h


Today we are experiencing our first day of the infamous Drake Passage, but much to most guests’ great delight we are experiencing “Drake Lake” conditions. It is fantastic: flat seas, almost no swell, in fact we cannot even feel any movement with the ship’s stabilizers.

This is really great for a comfortable journey, but is really disappointing from a birding point of view. Will Wagstaff, our birder; Ken Knowles, our historian and bird fan; and myself, who is equally “bird nuts”; spent most of the morning out on the back deck looking for birds. Normally, this is the best time during the crossing as it is still warm and invariably we have lots in the way of Blackbrowed Albatrosses, Wandering Albatrosses, Giant petrels and some of the smaller petrels. Well, today, despite our best efforts, we saw very little. One white chinned petrel, a couple of Black browed Albatrosses and one or two Wilson’s Storm Petrels. Not the good birding we expected, but very pleasant conditions outside, nonetheless.

Days at sea are never dull on the Prince Albert II, especially at the beginning of the voyage as there is so much information to get passed on. The first is a lecture by Will on the Tubenoses, i.e. the sea birds we are likely to see on our cruise. I think tubenoses are really incredible as they have salt glands at the base of the bill, which act as a reverse osmosis plant and desalinate water for the bird, hence their lack of need to go to land to find water. Will’s lecture is full of wonderful descriptions of the birds and their behaviour, leaving everyone enthusiastic about seeing the loads of birds we were hoping for.

Later in the morning we have our traditional “First timers” cocktail party in The Theatre where we have a chance to meet guests who have never traveled on Silversea and to tell them a little bit more about Silversea and the Prince Albert II.

We then all went for a fabulous buffet lunch in The Restaurant, which was closely followed by two mandatory briefings. The first was the International Association of Antarctic Tour operators (IAATO) briefing, detailing what we can and cannot do in the Antarctic and this was followed by the Zodiac briefing, to give guests an idea of what expedition cruising is all about with regards to our versatile “rubber ducks”.

Finally, an hour break to rest and relax in the Panorama Lounge for tea, listening to the fantastic piano playing of Perry, our onboard pianist.

5pm though was another lecture, this one from Kristine Hannon, our onboard photographer, on tips and tricks in photography, which gives good information to all guests on composition and ways to get the best out of your camera.

This being our first full day of the voyage, means that tonight is very special and we have the Captain’s welcome cocktail party, where guests get to meet the Captain and get introduced to the senior officers on board. Always a very smart affair and it is great to see how everyone dresses up for the occasion. This also means that we have the Captain’s welcome dinner, which, in my opinion, has the best menu of the voyage (which is indeed saying something as all the food on board is excellent).

Slowly, as the evening comes to an end, everyone can gather in the Panorama Lounge for a nightcap while relaxing to Perry’s music and wondering what tomorrow has in store.

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