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Day 5 - September 25, 2009 - At Sea, En Route To Providencia Island, Colombia

By JJ Apéstegui, Ornithologist

Co-ordinates: 15°35’N, 079°49’9”W
Weather: 5Brisk breeze blowing most of the day, level five on the Beaufort scale
Air Temperature: 32 C
Sea Temperature: 30 C
Pressure: 1007 Hpa
Wind: Easterly 20 Knots

It was another relaxing day onboard the Prince Albert II while we sailed to Providencia Island in the country of Colombia. The wind was a little stronger than we had experienced so far but nothing one would call unmanageable. The day was mostly spent enjoying a series of educational lectures by some of the onboard naturalists.

The first one was Robin Aiello, our marine biologist, with a lecture entitled: “Not Just A Pretty Fish - Fish Shape, Form & Function”; in which she explained some of the common forms of fish families, and how this relates to their lifestyles and in turn explains why they come in different shapes and colors. Robin also took this opportunity to speak about Coral Reefs, the problems they are facing today and the most recent theories on COTS infestations and coral bleaching events.

Later it was the turn of Hans-Peter Reinthaler, our Botanist. His talk was entitled: “Work sweetens life. The history of Sugar Cane and the slave trade” and covered the natural history of Sugar Cane as well as the historical aspects of this crop and its relationship with the slave trade during the centuries of colonial rule in the Antilles and the Caribbean in general.

After lunch and a short nap it was Richard Sidey, the ship’s photographer, who gave a lecture on compositional and technical advice for landscape and wildlife photography with an emphasis on the advantages of digital in today’s world, and ending with a little slide show of his own photographs taken around the world.

Not everything was attending to lectures, though. There was also time for some birdwatching from the ship’s decks, and we saw several Masked Boobies, a type of Gannet, come by and even plunge to take flying-fish that were also quite abundant throughout the day. At lunch we had quite a bit of excitement, especially those of us in The Restaurant, as a pod of Spinner Dolphins entertained us for awhile with their acrobatics very near our ship.

The last activity of the day, before the Recap & Briefing, was a Martini Seminar with tasting included, under the guidance of the Head Sommelier, Karolina.

During Recap, besides talking about the Dolphins most of us had seen, my fellow naturalists spoke of diverse subjects, from ethnicity and culture in the Caribbean to the most common plants seen around the area, and I introduced the species list that I am producing for the voyage and that will be available to our guests at the conclusion of their expedition.

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