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Antarctic Bound!

September 30, 2015  •  1 Comment

Coming soon!  October 12 to November 11, 2014

  • Antarctic Bound with Fathom Expeditions :  20 days celebrating the Spirit of Shackleton on the centenary of his Endurance Expedition.
  • Exploring the Falklands, South Georgia, South Orkney, Elephant Island and Antarctica aboard MV Sea Adventurer.  October 17-November 6, 2014

 

Looking forward to sharing my journey south in October/November - With additional stops in Buenos Aires, Puerto Madryn and Ushuaia Argentina.

 

Departing October 12th. Check back then

Below is a little History of "Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance". an Epic Journey!

 

A documentary on Shackleton's trip to reach the south pole:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oyQRHHHXntc

The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914–17), also known as the Endurance Expedition, is considered the last major expedition of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. Conceived by Sir Ernest Shackleton, the expedition was an attempt to make the first land crossing of the Antarctic continent. After the conquest of the South Pole by Roald Amundsen in 1911, this crossing from sea to sea remained, in Shackleton's words, the "one great main object of Antarctic journeyings" The expedition failed to accomplish this objective, but became recognised instead as an epic feat of endurance.

1914–1917: Map showing the sea routes ofEnduranceAurora and James Caird, planned overland route of the transcontinental party, and supply depot route of the Ross Sea party:

  Voyage of Endurance
  Drift of Endurance in pack
  Ice drift after Endurance sinks
  Voyage of James Caird
  Planned transcontinental route
  Voyage of Aurora to Antarctica
  Drift and retreat of Aurora
  Supply depot route
 

October 12, 2014

🎼. Well the bags are packed (too heavy again)🎶

🎶 I'm ready to go, 

I'll be standing soon outside my door 🎧

🎵I have to grab my 📷 camera And say goodbye 🎵

cause,

🎼. I'm leaving on a jet plane

 Don't know when I'll be back again!🎶

Dam song is stuck in my head now!

Well actually I do know that! And it is almost a month away, so too soon to go there. Have me a maple leaf lounge free pass for the airport, so going in style this time. Of course that will change drastically when I get into that wee seat in economy! But I will enjoy the lounge for a few hours!

Anyway, I say, Adios Amigos! I will hopefully be able to share the journey here on my blog while I'm away. Check back now and then for updates!r

 

October 22 2014. Port Staley Falkland Island.

hi all, a quick copy paste of what I have written so far. But Internet is difficult on the ship so am taking quick advantage of internet today. Am having an absolutely fabulous time! The wildlife and scenery is beautiful! I have a great roommate, and the people on board are great, friendly and well travelled, so very interesting. More on that the next time. For now here is the trip so far!

 

Nov 1
 
Hi all,
 
It took me forever to get to this page to enable an update! So I have copied and pasted every thing again as it was the quickest way to update in case I lose connections!
 
This post covers up till yesterday Oct 31, but not complete the last couple days. More to come as we journey on through very rough seas! My noggin is also a tough bugger, as I found out last night when trying to hit the bed with my butt, I butted my head with the port-hole window sill! But I am till kicking and having a great time!
 
..................................
 
October 12th
 
The flight left on time from Toronto. It was a nice stay in the Maple Leaf Lounge, But all good things must come to an end, sigh. Met up with the expedition leader at the boarding gate. Flight was long, but without incident, which is always a good thing. That's what we pay the big bucks for! We arrived in BA (Buenos Aries) around 2 pm the next afternoon, after a brief stop at Satiago Chile. I pulled a 'Stupid' at the airport. My bag came quickly, so I joined Dave German and headed off to customs. We were going to share a taxi to the hotel. Nice and early in the line, and pretty proud of ourselves. I was next in line. I looked down and for some reason, along side the Canadian flag tag on my suitcase, it said George? I just didn't understand? A second later it dawns on me I have the wrong suitcase! Shit! So back I scurry, with the stolen suitcase to the carrousel, thinking I am going to find a panicked "George" madly scurrying around. But he sees me coming, and thankfully instead of scowl, there is a huge smile! Our suitcases were not your regular suitcases, so I had not expected to see another one like mine, worn and thread barren like mine and with a Canadian flag to boot! So we laughed together, hugged and kissed, and all was right with the world again.......except now I am at the end of the long customs line! But that went relatively quickly and was painless.
 
Well Buenos Aries was lots of fun. Buenos Aires, is called the Paris of South America. 
 
Walked lots over the ~ 3 days here. There was lots to see and do, but I didn't accomplish my whole list of to-dos. But I was lucky enough to head out for a walk on the Monday, late afternoon after we arrived and headed to the Recoleta Barrio. Well actually I headed out in the wrong direction and happened to arrive at Ricoletta - Instead of where I thought I was going. But it was a good mistake as the park was alive with activity. Usually a Monday would not have this activity, but it was Columbus Day here, and there were many interesting things going on. First I came upon and amazing group of Jazz musicians. With a collection is of instruments and musicians, including Sax, keyboard? Banjo - yes banjo! And a concertina I believe, guitar and drums. I will have to refer to my photos, but at this time am unable to. (Another story there, but hopefully all is well with the help of John from Canmore) 
 
It was great music. But then there was also an artisans market, another show of talent at the other end of the park, and great people watching. The other talent show I watched was acrobatic abilities, including a fellow that balanced and rolled a soccer ball for a very long time without it touching the ground. The crowd loved it! I found myself a rhodochrosite pendant, a beautiful pink striated Argentinian stone. They have another stone particular to here, a Blue Onyx. And in the North they also mine aquamarine.
 
That evening I met with Dave and Keith and we headed out for dinner. A restaurant, recommended by many, and the night to sink our teeth into some Argentinian beef! It started off well with a lovely bottle of Argentinian Malbec, and plates of complimentary appetizers. Smoked salmon (Atlantic), mushroom pate, a sweet potato taster and something else. Dave also ordered sweetbreads, intestines and some other disgusting part of the cow. Of course we ate it all and enjoyed it. The wine was very very good! Then our main enter arrived, med rare tender steaks. Mmmmmm good! No dessert thank you, but the restaurants arrived with a little after dinner treat of 'lemon jello' and an anise tasting liquid. Both were meant to be drank, and were served to settle the stomach after so much meat. And so down the hatch it went, followed by a gasp!. Son of a B! Wicked! Turned out to be grappa and grappa! It was a tasty treat and I certainly felt I was a little lighter leaving than arriving. Not that the steak and all the food wasn't a good size meal, but the head was certainly light! It was a great evening, and a wonderful way to spend the first night of my adventure.
 
October 14
 
The next day I left the hotel about 9:30 and headed towards Microcentro and Plaza de Mayo square, seeing the Casa Rosado - the pink house where the president holds meetings. Also visited the Cathedral Metropolitana church built in 1836. Then on to San Telmo where I had a little lunch at another famous restaurant - . This is the heart of colonial BA. Cobblestone streets, colonial houses, Spanish churches and antique stores. First inhabited by the elite who fled in 1871, because of a yellow fever outbreak. The immigrants from Europe took over the mansions and they served as tenement houses, and the area became a melting pot of cultures. 
 
The area has an amazing array of doors, of which I photographed many. I ventured into the market there, but unfortunately it was siesta time again! Frig! So much for that plan, so I decided to head off now to the area called la Boca. An area that from the photos I've seen, remind me of the coloured houses of Cuba. But as it was no close to 4 pm, my waitress suggested I wait till tomorrow, if I was to go by myself. I knew there were some issues in the area, and had planned to take a taxi to the specific area which was apparently fine, but took her advise, and headed back to the hotel. Had hoped to stop at the local theatre, which has some amazing architecture, but by the time I had walked there the tours were over. Maybe when I return at the end of my trip. 
 
So I headed back to the hotel for a wee nap before the Tango Show which was on my agenda for the evening. Unfortunately the wee nap turned into  a major sleep which put a kibosh on the Tango show. They start things late here! Up all night party till dawn and have siestas in the afternoon. I like the siestas in the afternoon part, but this last birthday has put a damper on the staying up all night! I am up at dawn just not till dawn!
 
October 15
 
 I had walked pretty much everywhere since I arrived and The feet were feeling it, as were my legs. But I had another day before I caught my next flight, so I headed off early in the morning, after I had checked out and stored my luggage with the hotel. Headed first to the Japanese gardens, at the far end of the route I had planned for today. Back then to the Recoleta area, where I headed to the first day upon arrival. This time I had lunch on a patio and then on to the Cemetario de la Recoleta. An amazing cemetery! Ok maybe you are thinking, this woman is warped getting excited about a cemetery? Well yes maybe I am, regardless, but this was very unique. It is full of history, and is an amazing photography adventure. Yes I know, photographers photograph the oddest stuff! But if I could send a photo, I think you might understand. In the case, googling -"cemetery Buenos Aries" will provide you with photos of this place.
 
But let me tell you, this cemetary is the place to go - when you GO! It is for all the big wigs, special people, important people, writers, poets, generals, ie the elite, and anyone that is anyone since the mid  19th century. It is also the resting place of Eva Perone - Evita. These are not your ordinary graves. Each one is like a mausoleum, and depending on the year it was built, it can be an extremely ornate piece of art. There are numerous styles of architecture too, like greek temples, Egyptian pyramids and art nouveau vaults. And depending on their importance, some are very large. You travel through a labyrinth of streets, and narrow passageways. There is narry a space between the tombs, new mixed with old crumbling and decaying tombs and coffins. 
 
I had planned to attach images for my blog, but emailing, uploading and downloading, is all done via satellite, and the cost is per megabyte. I direct you to do a Google search if you are interested in looking a little further into the details. I will add photos when I return home, but for now I will try to paint a picture the best I can.
 
Later that evening, I headed on to Puerto Madryn, flying first to  Trewlew, arriving late in the evening and then an hour ride to PM. By the time I arrived at my hotel, I was pooped, but managed to arrange a guide and Driver, for a day of birding the next afternoon. 
 
October 16
 
In the morning I walked the beach in this beautiful city. Tide was out and the seaweed was strewn along the beach. I was off to capture some of the shore birds and also any other site I came across. I decided after walking a ways that I should head down to the shore. This proved to be a hike that brought me to my knees! No sooner had I taken my first step, i found my self sunk up to my knees in seaweed quicksand! With cameras held high, I realized I was very stuck. The suction on the feet was pretty strong! My first attempt almost keeled me over, but I managed to keep upright with the cameras still safe. A lady who spoke only Spanish happened by and tried to direct me out of it, but that did not turn out to be the right direction and I sank a little lower. By now I was giggling nervously, thinking I would have to somehow, get one of the tractors that took the boats down to the waters edge, to wrap a chain around me and pull me out! Quite the picture that generated in my head. The giggling turned quickly to what might have been described as an hysterical laugh. But, I am still holding those cameras high so I had not totally lost it yet! The next plan of attack was, instead of trying to pull feet out of their suction holes, I tried pushing the legs through the muck a little at a time, in the reverse direction, eventually turning 180 degrees and very slowly but with a extreme gratefulness, walked out of the trap! None the worse for wear, except that maybe Now of course I stank to high heaven! But covered in muck and green slime, I continued on my way down the beach. The saving grace was that I was wearing zip-offs, so I zipped off the bottoms. And managed in the next half hour to find a way to the shore via a safer route and walked my stinking runners right into the sea! Rinsed off the pan legs, and hung the to dry on my pack in the wind. I spent another couple hours photographing, some birds, and other things along the shore, ships in the distance, and a rusty old shipwreck at the end of the beach.
 
I headed back to the hotel and arriving around 1:30 pm, handed off the runners and socks to the hotel laundry, with a grave warning that it was very bad, and readied myself for the tour I had arranged for myself with Carol and the driver.
 
It was a great afternoon! Our driver Adrian found the craziest of back roads through sand dunes and God knows where else, but we had some great luck and lots of birds and great scenery. Returned back to the hotel around six as Carol had to meet some people at the plane, but then Adrian took me out to see if we could find cliff dwelling parrots. We found one, on a wire at the cliff area, but everyone else must have gone to town. It was fun all the same with us both trying to communicate, with my pigeon Spanish and his a little better English. We tracked through tussock grass and thorny bushed hunting for tinnemon or another aviary species, since the parrots weren't home.  And the parrot on the friggin wire mocked us the whole time! Adrian and I cursed him often in our respective languages, which we both understood! And we had great fun flipping the parrot the bird and every other crazy thing we could do to one up each other.
 
I was back to the hotel in time to join a few of the folks for dinner.
 
The next day was the first of the antarctic tour. And we headed off to go on a boat whale watching tour. 
 
 
October 17
 
Well to pick up where I left off, we headed out from our hotel in Puerto Madryn on the 17th for a whale watching boat tour out of the town of Puerto Pyramides on the Peninsula Valdes. Along the way we spotted Guanacos, meres and tinamou. Guanacos are the llama like animals of the Falkland Islands. They are wild, and usually run in herds. All males herds and then other times all females. At breeding time I am sure all hell breaks loose! The Meres are large rabbit like mammals, that also look some what like a small kangaroo. They have much shorter ears that the rabbits we know. Tinamou are a type of bird I think I might have described already.  The boat trip out to see the right whales, was spectacular. They were lots around and they were pretty feisty! Close to the boat often! Then to top that, we went to a beach not that far away. The tide was high, and mere meters from shore, the right whales were cavorting and playing in the water, slapping their fins and tails, lying on their back and lolling or scratching their backs on the gravel, the babies with their moms porpoising along from one end of the beach to the other.
It was quite amazing and exciting. Some jumped and jumped and jumped out of the water. Of course it was always at the other end of the beach from where we were that they were the most feisty! After that we headed back to the hotel. It was the night of the group dinner at the Placido restaurant. It was a great night of fun and introductions. John (know it all) Leonn, Dave (chipper skipper) German. And my room mate Sandra Kapetan. Well it was a two bottle of wine night, and a very good start to the adventure. Home to bed and to get things ready for the next afternoon's boarding of the Sea Adventurer. 
 
October 18
 
The next morning Sandra and I did a quick readying of our suitcases and put them out for pick-up, and headed out to do a bit of shopping. I needed to find a snow globe, a pair of sunglasses, and a book on the local birds and animals at the book store. After a nice long walk and a few stores we all headed to the ship. That evening we headed into the dining room and we were on our way to the first landing on the Falkland Island, a two day sail away.
 
Oct 19-20
 
We had good seas all the way to the Falkland Islands, and made great timing. Travelling at 12 knots I think I heard, There were numerous presentations along the way. Good fun dining with different people at every meal. This is a well travelled bunch, with many great stories to tell. So much fun. 
 
having so many widely travelled folks, who have amazing stories to tell, and inspiring lives, to talk to every day, is certainly a gift. An I believe many new friends are being made daily. I thought I had done very well with my travels, but my adventures seem few in comparison!
 
Dave Hahn one of our crew, is an amazing man, he has successfully summitted Everest 14 times, and holds the record for the number of times summitted without Sherpas. I believe the record number of summits is 21. He was also part of the team whose goal it was to search for Mallory and Irving, two British climbers from 1920’s who were never found after an attempt at the summit . The were able to recover Mallory's body, but unfortunately, after numerous attempts, Irving lay somewhere in the arms of the mountain that took his life. He has climbed with many very famous climbers, including Conrad and John Krakauer
 
Rob Reader, is the ship's historian and weaves amazing tales sharing with us the voyages of the past, when the original explorers crossed the ocean from Europe to find the 'Terra Australis Incognitos'  - the unknown Southern continent or Antarctic as we now know it. Once they learned the earth was round there was a collective belief that there must be a southern continent. And once the northern Arctic was discovered the belief was that much stronger, feeling there must be a balancing land mass to the south. So through Rob's tales we explored with the early explorers and learned of their hardships, their failures and their successes. Not only Shackleton's voyages and the story of him and his crew upon the ship Endurance, but those of earlier explorers many years before. 
 
Rob is from Midland Ontario, and owns a restaurant there that is called the Explorer's Cafe. Definitely a road trip when I return!
 
On the afternoon of the 20th was Our first landing on the Falkland Islands, on South Falkland specifically, and at Steeple Jason Island. The island is 6 miles long and 3 miles wide.  Here we hiked a ways to an amazing black browed albatross colony or rookery, that would knock your socks off! There were something in the neighbourhood of 250,000 nesting pairs here, and they seemed to stretch as far as you could see in both directions. The actual size is approximately 200 meters wide by 5 km long. There were also rock hopper penguins nesting here among the albatross, in numbers reaching maybe 100,000 pairs in between. To get closer to the nesting areas, we had to hike between over and through the clumps of tussock grass mounds, which were higher than most of us, and very difficult to maneuver through. Sitting in these grasses mere feet away from the birds fills you with awe. We are trying our best to be silent, but the sounds from this colony were astounding and I doubt they would be startled by any sound we could produce. We were within touching distance, and the black browned albatross have a very soft, touchable look to them. It was an amazing experience. I pushed my way through the tussoc grass, which was exhausting, but I managed to make it to the middle of the colony which enabled a better view of the colony on both sides and I hopefully managed a video to share the incredibleness of the time we had, and capture the vocalization. I have not figured out the video on my camera, and most scenes I have filmed, already seem to be staggered and broken, but I still have captured the essence of the moments while there.
 
October 21st
 
Today we were off to West Point Island, where we met Theis and Kiki, who were the caretakers of the island. The day was quite dense with fog, but it created a lovely mood. I was amazed at the yellow Lichen on the rocks, and how they seemed to brightened the valleys, especially when the sun shone. I was lolly gagging along, and just enjoying the different birds, linens, and plants I came across, shooting as I went of course. I walked to the other side of the island, finally catching up with the rest, who were now ready to head back! Here was a smaller rookery of black browed albatross and numerous rock hopper Penguins. Here you were mere inches from the birds and an it was another incredible moment. 
 
It was a very happy reunion for Pauline and Tim Carr with Thies and Kiki. There were many stories told and experiences shared between them and us, and it was interesting to hear their stories. Theis and Kiki will be staying here on this island for a year, on their own, managing the small farm of sheep, cows and a few other animals as well as the island itself.
 
The second landing of the day was Carcass Island. I watched maggellenic penguins landing on the white sand beaches,  as well as a steamer duck, a flightless duck, barreling across the the top of the water towards shore. It looked like it was doing an incredibly fast butterfly stroke, with its wings, and on a very desperate mission to make land! The magellenic penguins nest under ground and there were numerous nesting holes alongside the shore. A newly hatched oyster catcher baby was being protected by its parents, but occasionally popped out for a stroll, a feeding and a few photos!
 
Our goal here was to walk to the other side of the island for tea and cakes!  Now here we are northwest of the Falkland Island archipelagos, far from society, and heading to a place for tea and cakes! A true British island we all thought. And as we reached the destination, we saw the huge flagpole flushing the Union Jack! And when we walked into the parlour of those that had invited us, there was a table that filled the room, with so many 'sweeties' that my teeth hurt just looking at it! It was a delight! I then spent some time talking to the baker, who was from Chile, near Santiago, and they spend 6 months here on this island baking for the likes of us, and 6 months at home. It was a fun talk, and as he headed back to the kitchen, he whispered in my ear, to make sure I put a couple I my pocket as I left! Which I did of course!
 
Oct 22, 
 
Today we landed at Port Stanley on the Falklands and had a free morning to shop, visit the museum, walk through town, and have a beer at the 
 local pub. Visited the pub on the way back to the ship, as most of us knew that that might be our last stop as well as our first if we weren't careful! 
It was a fun morning. Pretty strange though, on this archipelago of islands, to be paying in pounds, and hearing English accents! 
 
22, 23, 24
 
The rest of the 22nd and the next 2 days we were at sea. And in pretty doggone rough conditions I might add. The 23, I was quietly copying and backing up my photos to my computer and hard drives, and every so often,  I would have to grab for everything to keep it from sliding off the table!  On one occasion though the wave was so large, that I was thrown from my chair and as the chair continued flying through the air, I saw my laptop - mid air - coming directly at my head! 
 
Now let me take a moment here to tell you about my computer. It is my old workhorse, one of those tougher than nails Toshiba laptops, born in the previous century. It was by no means a Mac-Book Air! Weighing in at about 8 lbs! Needless to say, in that split second, I was very concerned!
 
Luckily my reactions were quick enough to ward the big friggin lug off to the side with my arms that came up to protect my head, along with the vinegar & oil, and the salt&pepper, which followed it in quick succession. Altogether it was quite a mess on the floor! I stayed put, as I was not sure what the heck was going to happen next. What I heard though was a humongous crash, and then more crashes one after the other in quick succession.
 
It is a very very sad story that I am about to tell, and I apologize for sharing this in my blog. But to give you the whole picture of how rough it was, and how dangerous the seas can be here in these southern most waters, I feel the need to complete the picture for you. 
 
So initially the first news received back from the Boss - our 'Chipper Skipper', as he has come to be known as ( more on that later) - was that the many crashes one after the other were all the dishes from our lovely laid tables. Understandably, dinner would be a little late. But the worst news came at dinner when it was announced there had been a tragedy aboard our ship. A whole table of incredibly lovely bottles of Argentinian, Chilean and other fine wines had been demolished. There were a few moments of silence in respect, and many tears shed. $2500 worth of wine....and tears.  Be still my heart.
 
As it were, I was helped up, the dishes were cleared up and there was still a few bottles still in the pantry, so all was still ok and we have continued to imbibe, with fervour!
 
October 25
 
Well today was to be a day for a couple landings. Our first on South Georgia Island. A great effort was made by Dave and the Captain, but the winds were so high - upwards of 90 knots -'that the possibilities waned and we were ship bound for the day. Regardless the great staff provided wonderful presentations. Pauline and Tim on Their 14 years living on Soouth Georgia Island and setting up the Museum while living aboard their small sail boat, the Curlee. After 8 years they finally scored accommodations on Land. Dennis the photographer, reviewed the types, behaviours and information on the seals around the world and the ones we will be seeing here. Dave German gave us a run down on the details pursued today to attempt finding a place to land.  These are th highest winds they have had apparently, someone seeing + 100 knots on the bridge today.
 
October 26
 
This morning we had a landing before Breakfast, to Right Whale Bay. After two and a half sea days and then the high winds causing yesterday's skunking, it was a very exciting moment to finally be going ashore. Dave arranged for us to have a make up landing before breakfast, so we were out the door and into the zodiacs by 6:30 am.  And it was so amazing! To greet us were a few king penguins, waltzing along the beach, as curious about us as we were about them. As we walked towards the other end of the beach, more amazing sight unfolded, fur seals, then elephant seals, then more and more King Penguins. Then a whole rookery of elephant seals! Lots of noise, with the elephant like noses bellowing out their roared warnings. 
 
A little fur seal zoomed by, seeming to be on a mission. He stopped and had a look at me, and decided the group of king penguins porpoising in the sea with a bee-line to the shore, was much more to his liking, and off he went.  The Penguins washed onto the shore on a big wave, and formed their usual line towards their rookery area. No sooner had they started their waddle forward, then the fur seal made his charge, scattering them in all directions. Made no catch and off he tore up the beach further to torment some baby seals. Miserable little shit!
 
It was so special, being so close to the various inhabitants of this location. A couple times I got a little too close to the fur seals, and on two occasions i was charged. Amazingly I can still move quickly! Even at this ripe old age!
 
There were skeletal remains of a whale on the beach. The tail bones and the spine laid out covered in the light dusting of snow that fell before our arrival. And the vertebrae that scattered the beach were humongous!
 
At this point on the journey along right whale bay, I started to see the white sheathbills. But the coup de Gras was at the far end of the beach. It was a king penguin rookery that stretched as far as you could see, back towards the mountains and up the sides of the lower slopes. Thousands! In the distance you could see the patches of brown which were the young ones still in their baby down. Numerous of the Penguins were also molting which was very interesting.
 
After 2-2.5 hours we were called back to the zodiacs for the return to the ship. And to our awaiting breakfast. The snow and wind picked up a bit towards the end of the beach and felt like little daggers on the skin of the face - the only exposed skin!
 
But I must run for now as the anchor was just lowered and it sounds like the weather is holding for us to have another landing! We are at Prion Island, one of the places where the Wandering Albatross nests, in 2-3 weeks this island will be closed to visitors. There is a boardwalk here to protect the island with railings and platforms where you can got to and look over the area. Only 50 people on shore at a time to minimize the effect on the environment here. 
 
Later - 3:00 pm
Well Prion Island was spectacular. Firstly we travelled along the shore with Big Bob, the captain of our Zodiak puttering us along the shores of the island, to see what we could find. There were kelp gulls swimming, antarctic Terns, diving for food, rock cormorants, posing on craggy points and Gentoo penguins porpoising through the water alongside the Zodiak.
 
Once on shore there was a small rookery of fur seals, lots of Gentoo penguins, coming and going, from the water and along the beach, some speckled teals feeding in the kelp, and the antarctic Pipit - the southern-most songbird in the world just motoring everywhere, catching bugs in the kelp And that was on the beach when we landed. Then we headed up the boardwalk to see the nests that were holding the Wandering Albatross Chicks. While they are "Chicks" the word really is deceiving, as they are very large! The Wandering Albatross has a wing span of around 12 feet, and these chicks are close to full grown in size. They just don't have all their flight feathers yet. And the downy, gangly, scruffy looking birds were stretching their wings and exercising the wing muscles for their upcoming fledge time. As I have heard, the parents are with the chick for 8 months, feeding them what they can find locally, but when they are needing more and more food, they are required to travel farther distances to find krill, squid and fish. This could be hundreds or thousands of miles, and sometimes as far as Brazil. The chick are left alone on the nest while the parents fly to pick up some Takeout. A long way to go for food! And when they return, they may only be home briefly, before they are off again to Search for more food.? Far fetched I know, and I will certainly have to check the facts, but there is a number of birds here that have an amazing journey sometimes to be able to get food for themselves and their chicks. One of the main foods for many birds, as well as for whales, is Krill. And there is no one place where the krill is, and they need to fly to find it which is often great distances away.
 
The food chain here is pretty simple. Phyto plankton is the basis of the food chain. These are little plants that rise to the surface during the day or night. The krill, which are Zo Plankton, feed off the phyto plankton. So the krill would also come up to the surface to feed. The birds and penguins also feed on krill, so non diving birds are able to get a fill at the surface. And the food chain expands as the Penguins eat the krill, some seals eat the Penguins, etc etc.
 
So to bring this back to the wandering albatross, they eat, krill, fish and squid. And they have to travel to find these colonies of krill at the surface as well as fish and small squid, (which also comes to the surface) the albatross can travel hundreds or thousands of miles for food. Sometimes as far as Brazil from South Georgia. The chicks will wait as much as 6 weeks till the parents come back.
 
Now on a short break as we wait for the next possible landing at Salsbury Plane, a short distance away on the mainland.
 
Later!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 


Comments

Bre(non-registered)
Have a blast Diane. So looking forward to seeing what you see.
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