Sunday, 29 December 2013

Two days across the Beagle Channel

My feeling of melancholy had not disappeared overnight. As I awoke, I felt a little depressed, like some kind of loss & this was to continue for the next two days at sea. With ever minute & with every hour, I was sailing further & further away from paradise! The expense of a trip to Antarctica is considerable & for most, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity. At the front of my mind was the distinct prospect that I would never return. This made me sad.
On the first day, sea birding was quite good, but uncharacteristically I only spent around four hours on deck. I had temporarily lost my get up & go! I couldn't explain it, but it was there. I don't think I had ever felt like this before in my life.
 Black browed Albatross was ever present
 around the ship.
Southern Giant Petrels were seen.
Although only one white morph
 was noted today.
 A lone Antarctic Petrel followed the ship
 for around an hour, affording amazing views.
This species is very aerial & quick,
so hard to photograph!
Cape Petrels are a little easier to photograph!


 Cape Petrel & Southern Fulmar.

 Snow Petrel - one of the best seabirds in the world!

 Just pure magic!

Only one was seen today &
 this was the last one seen.
 Over 200 Antarctic Prions
 were seen on the first day.
Yet again the second day at sea dawned & I was still lethargic! I did have an excuse though, there was lots to be done in the sorting of photographs for the group video & stills. As usual, I had left it to the very last minute, so spent quite some time indoors in the photography room sorting stuff out. There were also a couple of great lectures to attend. All this combined meant only a few hours actually on deck, doing what I had come all this way to do! However, some people were not on my wavelength! They did some very strange things to keep amused!
 The girls, doing the song from the YMCA!
What a hoot!
 Now, don't do that!
You do know it is a fog horn, don't you?

 OK - don't listen to me then!

 Adult Northern Giant (Hall's) Petrel.

 A few White-chinned Petrels
 were around on the second day.

 Great Shearwater.

Slender-billed Prion became numerous
 as we travelled further north.
Looking for dolphins, riding the bow of the ship.

 Our first view of the fabled Cape Horn!
And it was calm! Unbelievable!
Some people then went a little nuts!
No, it is not my impression of the Incredible Hulk!
I was straddling two oceans:
 both the Pacific & the Atlantic Oceans!
Others, were only slightly more restrained!
 Before disembarkation, we all had a tour of the ship.
First the bridge.
Every nation flag in the world is stored here!
Communication flags are also here.
 The Wet Room - where we stored all
our outside gear.
And there was a lot of it!
 The wet skin rack!
Then we were back on terra firma & it was over!
The trip of a lifetime!

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