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11/24/2009

AT SEA – SOUTH ATLANTIC

We are still blessed with a calm sea. There are a few whitecaps on the waves but Minerva is not troubled by them. The sun came out in the morning and attracted a crowd on the pool deck to watch the seabirds gathering in our wake. The flocks of smaller species were dwarfed by a few albatrosses, including the majestic wandering albatross which boasts the largest wingspan of any living bird. Ornithologist Patricia Silva and other naturalists were on hand to help with identification. Patricia described how the shallow, productive waters of the Patagonian Shelf make this area a rich feeding ground for seabirds.

However, the day's formal programme started with the mundane, but necessary, issuing of rubber boots to all guests. 'Wellingtons' are essential for the beach landings that form the core of our expedition. The lecture programme was also in full swing. In the morning, resident artist Peter Welton started with a workshop for those interested in preserving their Antarctic experience in paint and he was followed by Charley Wheatley with his presentation 'An Introduction to the Whales of the Southern Ocean', telling us about the species we are likely to encounter. In the afternoon photo coach Richard Harker gave his introductory 'Photography in Antarctica: What to expect and how to prepare'. Nearly everyone will take photographs to make a permanent record of the expedition and to share their experiences with friends and family back home. Richard's coaching will be invaluable for getting the most from our cameras. Finally, historian Bob Burton told the story of the charismatic leader Sir Ernest Shackleton and successes and failures of his expeditions to the Antarctic.
 

   

Boot distribution in the morning, led by Russ Manning.

In the mid-morning Peter Welton, onboard artist, held his first seminar.

At lunch time, the bar manager prepared some Caipirinhas in the traditional Brazilian style.

Many birds approached the ship during the day, like this Black-browed Albatross.

This evening our first Recap was presented, here, Ralph Eshelmann, onboard Geologist talking about the continental shelve.


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