Day 6 - March 30, 2011 - At sea en route to Luanda, Angola

By Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist

Co-ordinates: S 18º06,5’, E 011º36,5’
Weather: Sunny
Air Temperature: 27ºC
Sea Temperature: 26ºC
Pressure: 1015 hPa

As I entered The Restaurant this morning the first thing I noticed was the incredible calmness of the sea. There was not a ripple in the water and the surface of it had an almost oily appearance. The temperatures outside was very comfortable in the mid to upper 20s and with the extra hour we gained last night and the wonderful time we had in Namibia, everybody was wearing a big “ear-to-ear” smile.

The lecture program started this morning with Olga Stavrakis with her “Southern Africa - Clash of Cultures”. Olga explained in this fascinating lecture how when Europeans first came to southern Africa to set up farms and establish cities, they found a land they thought was virtually uninhabited. What they did not realize was that native peoples were nomadic and the free land was not “free” at all but seasonal pastures absolutely essential to the survival of indigenous Africans. As a result, years of war and hostilities followed, ending with the historic emergence of the new southern states.

Straight after Olga’s lecture, our Executive Chef Marcus and Head Sommelier Javier hosted a food and wine-pairing demo, followed by lunch. Many of our guests took advantage of the great weather to have lunch at the Outdoor Grill while enjoying the sun and the warm ocean breeze.

At 2 pm guest lecturer Dr. David Conrad presented a lecture entitled “Minkisi – Art, religion and power among the cultures of Angola”. In this most interesting presentation, David introduced us to the history, culture and spiritual art of the Ki-kongo peoples of northern Angola and Southwestern Congo.

And then during tea time, the moment that many had been waiting for… Team Trivia! Today our Assistant Expedition Leader Jarda Versloot hosted the first in a series of Team Trivia sessions that we will be hosting on our days at sea. Today’s trivia questions were on general knowledge and the result was a tie between three teams.

Following Team Trivia, I had my first opportunity to lecture and I chose to give my “Geology Rocks” presentation. This is a Geology 101 lesson to introduce our guests to basic terminology and concepts needed to understand the geological features of the places that we will explore. I covered topics such as the origin of our planet, types of rock and plate tectonics, finalizing with the geological evolution of Africa.

And as usual, at 18:45 it was Recap & Briefing time. Today, before Robin’s briefing, our resident photographer Richard Sidey presented a segment of the movie that he is putting together as he documents this voyage along Western Africa. As always this incredibly talented kiwi left us in awe with his ability to beautifully capture and so artistically assemble the moments and memories that will hopefully make this trip an unforgettable one. Bravo Richard!