Voyage Journal 7106 Day 19


Day 19 - March 21, 2011 - At Sea en route to Cape Town

By Robin Aiello, Marine Biologist

Co-ordinates: 36º05’44”S 001º56’07”
Weather: Overcast with rain and strong winds (30 knots)
Air Temperature: 20ºC

Last night, as we left Tristan da Cunha, the seas got pretty rough, and the swells grew and grew all night long. I think some of them were well over 4m high – judging from the rocking we were experiencing. The rough seas continued for most of the day, but I was pleasantly surprised to see most guests up and about in the morning – I guess everyone has gained their sea legs by now, after so many days at sea!

Our day at sea was actually quite busy – with the usual ‘at sea’ activities of lectures, documentary movies and Team Trivia. Robin West, our Expedition Leader, gave the first lecture of the day entitled “The Building of the MV Prince Albert II”. Robin went over the history of our beautiful little ship – from its original building in the 1980s to the massive renovations undertaken by Silversea when they bought her a few years ago. She actually has a very colourful history, and some of the stories that Robin told us elicited good laughter.

At the end of Robin’s lecture there was a question and answer session with the Captain, Staff Captain, Chief Engineer and Hotel Director, who all got up on stage. For the next 45 minutes the guests asked an array of questions of these officers. Questions included the types and amount of fuel that we can carry, how much we burn per day, how far we can travel on one tank full, how much water we produce and use, how much food we provision, and thoughts on the wrecked MV Oliva cargo vessel. And these are only a few of the many questions asked. It was a wonderfully interactive session with some very tough questions, but I think everyone learned a lot.

After lunch, Juan introduced a documentary called ”Home” which looked at the way so many of the world’s environmental issues are interconnected. Unfortunately I did not have the chance to see this film, as we, the Expedition Team, were busy cleaning all the gumboots and storing them away for the season, and bringing down all the snorkel gear for the next trip. So we were stuck in the Mud Room all afternoon.

But we were all done by Tea time at 4pm – just in time to join our Botanist, Hans-Peter, for his Team Trivia. Boy, was that one hard!!! I think only one team got more than 10 questions correct! Do YOU know what plant has the largest single flower in the world? I certainly didn’t!

At 5pm it was my turn to give my final lecture – this time I was talking about how marine mammals have adapted to living a life in the ocean. I talked about swimming adaptations, echolocation, heat conservation, sound and communication as well as camouflage and feeding techniques. I also explained how these animals can dive so deep and for so long without getting decompression sickness (the ‘bends’). If you want to know – come join us for a cruise and come to my lecture! ☺

For the final activity of the day, Kristine Hannon, our photographer, was showing the first part of her voyage video – from the Falklands to Grytviken, South Georgia. It was amazing! What a fabulous way to look back at our trip to remember the amazing beauty and breathtaking scenery that we had seen. I certainly am looking forward to the second part of the video that she will show in a couple of days before the ship arrives in Cape Town, South Africa.

It is still rough as I write this log, but I hope the seas will calm down a bit for tomorrow, because there is a special event occurring tomorrow – but you will have to wait and read about that in tomorrow’s log. Good night for now, and sweet dreams.