Posts Tagged ‘Rioja’

Spending Time At Sea

May 13th, 2008 at 5:34 am (AST) by Jake Richter

After we left Coruna on Friday, we set “sail” (the National Geographic Endeavour is a motor-powered vessel with no masts, but it still “sails”) for St. Malo, France, two days and hundreds of miles away.

So as to ensure that we would not be too bored while spending a couple days at sea, a number of lectures and events were planned on board, and we participated in all of them, including:

– Several in-depth presentations about the HMS Victory, the ship upon which Admiral Nelson died during the battle of Trafalgar in October, 1805. Our presenters were Peter Goodwin and his wife Katy. Peter is the curator of the HMS Victory, and we had a chance to get a private tour conducted by Peter when we landed in Portsmouth yesterday. We learned a lot about naval warfare with sailing vessels and Nelson.

– Wine tasting featuring Spanish Rioja wines.

Our table was littered with wine glasses after the Rioja tasting
Our table was littered with wine glasses after the Rioja tasting

– A National Geographic GeoBee – a competitive quiz featuring questions about world geography and culture. The Traveling Richters tied for third place, meaning we all got GeoBee medals.

We tied for third place in the GeoBee aboard the National Geographic Endeavour
We tied for third place in the GeoBee aboard the National Geographic Endeavour

– Madeira tasting featuring three different Madeira wines.

The three Madeira wines we tasted at the Madeira tasting
The three Madeira wines we tasted at the Madeira tasting

– A nice presentation on the Basque culture and Basque whalers given by one of the naturalist staff members, Sean. Introduced the suggestion that the Basque people might be more direct genetic descendants from Cro Magnon man, and also pointed out that the Basque whalers were early visitors to North America, much like the Vikings were, although neither established permanent settlements.

– A lecture about bird species found in the areas we had visited and would be visiting.

– A discussion of the geology of the world as it relates to plate tectonics. The key takeaway point for us was that the “seven continents” we’ve all learned about are a fallacy when it comes to real geology, as there are actually about 25 various tectonically derived continents of various sizes (including a mini-continent which Italy is part of). The seven continents we’ve been taught are merely a human interpretation based on large land masses surrounded by water, with no actual regard for how things connect geologically.

– A photo slide show by a half dozen participants (including Krystyana and myself).

We also had a nice Philippines themed dinner during the time at sea.

One of the staff carves meat off a roasted suckling pig
One of the staff carves meat off a roasted suckling pig

All told, we were kept pretty busy between ports.