''Explorer's Africa'' Voyage 7107 Day 7


Day 7 - March 31, 2011 - At sea

By Hans-Peter Reinthaler, Biologist

Co-ordinates: 11°36´S, 12°23´E
Weather: partly cloudy
Air Temperature: 28 C

The second day at sea on our journey up the West African coast was characterized by good weather, calm sea and a lot of preparing work in the expedition office for the excursions in Luanda, our second country on this tour. The winds still were blowing from behind, so the Prince Albert II was gliding over the Atlantic Ocean along the Angolan coast.

My colleagues Richard Sidey, photographer, Robin Aiello, marine biologist and Will Wagstaff spent part of the morning on the outside decks looking out either for birds, marine mammals or good shots with the camera. This way encountering Leach Petrels, Arctic Skuas (as living examples for his later talk on bird migrations), and Wilsons Storm Petrel.

The activities for our guests started at 10 o’clock in the morning when our guest lecturer Dr David Conrad was talking about the “Abomey Kings and Vodun Spirits – Art History and Culture of Dahome (Benin)”. Dr Conrad gave an interesting overview of the history of a slave-trading kingdom and how indigenous African religion was exported to the New World. The lecture was well attended and I found it an interesting insight into the culture of this West African country.

Before lunch, Aiello, Juan and I helped in the office to staple a few pages of information for the guests regarding our excursion in Luanda. As there is very little information available about this city, the Expedition Team put together a short and comprehensive paper to give our guests an idea about this excursion location.

Lunch was served in The Restaurant and was, as always, delightful, having some interesting conversation with guests about the upcoming day.

After a little break, the next presentation was on the program. This time our onboard anthropologist Olga Stavrakis gave a presentation on “African Enigma: Food and Famine in the Sub-Saharan Africa”. She was looking at Africa from another point of view as most Western people do. Extraordinary challenges are waiting for the peoples in Africa and can those challenges be turned into opportunities?

With the tea time, the second round of our Team Trivia started in the Panorama Lounge. All groups from the first round participated in this round, which was hosted by my colleague Robin Aiello. As she is our marine biologist on board, the 20 trivia questions were related to African animals.

After this, the lecture continued with my colleague Will Wagstaff talking about “Bird Migration”. The presentation was an introduction into the long voyages taken by some birds to and from their breeding grounds using a wide variety of strategies.

In the Recap, my colleagues Robin Aiello and Olga Stavrakis spoke about noise pollution in the oceans and how whales are affected by this and the History of Angola respectively. The recaps were followed by an extensive briefing from our Expedition Leader Robin West about Luanda, and a short introduction to the activities on offer in Sao Tome, because guests had to sign up for the different tours as there are only certain capacities available.

Afterwards, I enjoyed a delicious dinner with our guests in The Restaurant, looking forward with great excitement to the unknown destination of Luanda.