Voyage Journal 7922 Day 5

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Day 5 - September 1, 2009 - At Sea En Route To Iqaluit Canada

By Claudia Holgate, Ornithologist

Co-ordinates: 62* 40’’ 17” N, 66o 20* 56 W
Weather: Cool and overcast, with some fog
Air Temperature: 2,6C (36,7F)
Pressure: 994hPa
Wind: 7m/h SW

Today was our second day at sea, which allowed us to have a lazy morning, with no rush to get to breakfast. With an hour change as well, we had an extra hour sleep, so everyone was awake and refreshed this morning after a rather rocky day yesterday, which had many on the ship feely decidedly queasy.

As is the case with expedition ships, our sea days are days of lectures and looking for wildlife, and today was no exception. The lecture program this morning started off for our German guests with a lecture on birds form our German onboard biologist Hans Peter. The lecture was an interesting look at the biology and behaviour of birds of the North, giving our German guests all the information they need to start identifying many of the birds circling the ship and some that we are likely to see in the coming days.

The morning’s lecture program was then followed by Richard’s talk on tips and tricks to take better photos in the polar regions. Richard’s easy-going character hides his skill and passion for photography and his lectures always provide every level of photographer with something to take away.

Lunch was the usual delicious event on the ship’s daily programme, although many guests (and expedition staff) were ruing their decision to go to lunch when they heard the ship’s engines slow down and instinctively knew that something must have been seen. The Expedition Team all went running to the Bridge to find out what was up, only to be told that the second officer had seen two polar bears on an ice floe, but that the ship had scared them off before they could slow the ship down. We would not have believed him if it were not for the photos that he had taken. After much discussion with the Captain, Robin our Expedition Leader and the Captain decided not to turn back as this would chase the bears and we didn’t want to stress them out too much as bears in this part of the world have often had to spend much of the summer with very little food. We are hoping to see some bears on Akpatok and Lower Savage Islands, so hopefully this was just a taste of what was to come.

The afternoon’s lecture programme was kicked of with Susan’s talk on the Inuit, their origins and culture, where she explained how the modern Inuit are believed to be descendents of the Pan Arctic Thule Culture. She also described some of their rich cultural heritage and distinctive artistic, artifactual, oral and religious traditions.

Our head Sommelier, Karolina then gave a seminar on martinis, which was followed by another lecture by Hans Peter for the German guests on the mammals that live in the Arctic, where he explained all about the biology of the land mammals that we are likely to see or may have seen in Greenland.

Tomorrow we have an exciting day at Iqaluit, so we also had a briefing on our activities for the coming day as well as a recap on the birds behaviour that we had seen, as well as a short recap from Susan on the Nunavit.

Our day was finally made complete by another superb meal in The Restaurant, prepared by Lionel, our executive chef from France.

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