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Day 2 - December 11, 2009 - Drake Passage

By Michaela Mayer, Marine Biologist

Co-ordinates: 61°54’S, 58°32’W
Weather: foggy cloudy to clear

To give everyone a chance to sleep in, today’s activities did not start until late morning at 10:00am.

As we left the Beagle Channel last night, a swell came to greet us, however we had a comfortable ride for our first night onboard the Prince Albert II. By the time we gathered for breakfast this morning, winds were at about 24 knots with a rising swell all coming from the stern. Standing at the bow on The Observation Deck, temperatures at 6C (44F) were quite pleasant.

Our first activity today was a mandatory lecture by our Expedition Leader, Conrad Combrink, on the requirements we have under the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO). It is comforting to know that our tourism is carried out responsibly, allowing future tourists the opportunity to enjoy the unblemished wilderness of Antarctica. As we use Zodiacs (our inflatable rubber boats) for all of our landings and some cruising, we had a briefing on how we use Zodiacs directly after our IAATO briefing.

I enjoyed some time on deck watching the magnificent albatrosses and petrels. The birds we have seen so far include Wandering Albatross, Black-browed Albatross, Southern and Northern Giant Petrels, Wilson's Storm-petrel, and Cape and Antarctic petrel, and Antarctic Prion.

Before lunch I went inside again for the first-timer’s party, which was a chance to get to know some of the guests who have not travelled with Silversea before. Shortly afterwards was lunch with a varied buffet that offered something delicious for everyone.

After lunch, Kristine Hannon shared her knowledge about photography of landscape and wildlife with us in a lecture called “Getting Started”.

In the late afternoon I gave my first talk of this voyage “Whales and Seals of Southern Oceans”, which many guests attended.

In the evening, Captain Peter Stahlberg invited us to his Welcome Cocktail Party, which was followed by the Welcome Aboard Dinner, where everyone could show off their most elegant attire and enjoy another special meal prepared by the Executive Chef, Douglas Hope.

The day ended with the smooth sounds of Lou on the piano in the Panorama Lounge.

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