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11/27/2007

At Sea

We woke this morning to beautiful sunshine and seabirds at the stern of the ship.

Most of us chose window seats at breakfast this morning, enjoying the view outside before heading to the Main lounge for the start of today’s lecture schedule.
The first lecture of the day was presented by our onboard marine biologist, Charley Wheatley who introduced us to the Seals of the Antarctic.

Later this morning we had our mandatory IAATO (The International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators) briefing and a zodiac briefing – so we all gathered in the main lounge where our Expedition Leader, Larry Hobbs and his assistant, JD Massyn, briefed us regarding the codes of conduct when going ashore in South Georgia and the Antarctic Peninsula.

This afternoon Michael Schmid and Jürgen Lange presented to our German-speaking guests a lecture about the Seals of the Southern Ocean. This was followed by expedition team geologist Pat Abbott, talking about Plate Tectonics and the formation of Antarctica. Many of us spent a lot of time out on the stern pool deck today, to watch the albatrosses and petrels flying around the ship. Highly accomplished dynamic soarers they rely on a constant supply of wind to catch the updrafts and glide gracefully between the swells and the troughs. The naturalists were out on deck identifying the different species, while the photographers tried to capture their majesty in flight. These birds constitute an integral part of the Antarctic ecosystem – we had close ‘flyby’ sightings of black browed albatross, wandering albatross, giant petrels and the little Wilson’s storm petrels.

Some guests enjoyed Hotel Director Freddie Strohmeier's superb culinary skills as he prepared delicious crepe Suzettes, as well as the ship’s usual array of delicious tea time treats.

Ship’s historian Bob Burton closed the afternoon with his lecture entitled: "Shackleton - Heroic Failure? - The Story of his Four Expeditions."

The expedition team gave us our first ‘Recap & Briefing’ session, a fun and informative time together, where we could all exchange information.

After dinner, some of us joined accomplished pianist, Chantal Sanders, in the Shackleton bar, for a repertoire of classical and light blues music, before turning in for the night.


   

One of our naturalists Russ Manning demonstrated how to properly don the zodiac life jackets.

The German group also received a briefing on how to dress properly for the zodiac outings.

A deck crew member works hard to keep the Explorer II ship shape

The hotel director Freddie Strohmeier serves a special Crepe Suzette for tea time.

The onboard photo consultant Richard Harker sorts out our camera issues.


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