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11/23/2009

AT SEA – SOUTH ATLANTIC

Waking up required the moment of orientation necessary in a strange room. There was the realisation that we were in cabins on board a ship with engine quietly trundling in the background. There was hardly any rocking or rolling which was a great relief to those with weak stomachs. It also meant that we are sailing at full speed which will give us the maximum time at the Falkland Islands.

This is the day for settling into expedition life. We started with the 'Parka Exchange' where we could exchange our complimentary Minerva parkas for ones of more appropriate size. Then it was time for the lecture programme to start. Enrichment lectures on topics that will enhance the appreciation of our destinations will be a feature of sea-days when we are not landing. Patricia Silva (Patri) started with her talk 'Seabirds: Ambassadors of the Southern Ocean'. She introduced us to the albatrosses and petrels that will accompany Minerva throughout the cruise. They are known for their effortless flight in the winds that sweep over the vast open spaces of the world's oceans. Patricia gave us information about the life history of these birds, with special attention to the most common species we will see. Patri was followed by Ralph Eshelman's 'Commotion in the Ocean'. This was an explanation of plate tectonics or continental drift, the phenomenon of the continents wandering very slowly over the Earth's surface and explains how the Earth is the shape it is today.

In the afternoon, resident artist Peter Welton talked about 'My life as an artist', and the naturalists gathered on the pool deck to help identify the seabirds flying nearby. Finally, Expedition Leader Larry told us about the plans for our eagerly anticipated visit to the Great White Continent.

Then it was time to prepare for Captain Moulds' Welcome Aboard Cocktail Party and Welcome Dinner. From the loud buzz of conversation throughout the two events it is clear that we have a congenial crowd on board!
 

   

Parka exchange in the morning.

Peter Welton, onboard artist giving a lecture.

There was also time for birdwatching during the day.

The senior officers of the Minerva toast the weather during the Captain's Welcome Cocktail.

A birthday is celebrated during the Captain's Dinner.


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