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Atravelynn
11 hours ago, janzin said:

Really enjoying this report! And absolutely fabulous photos. Thanks! What camera gear were you using?  Nikon Coolpix 900 which does 83x optical zoom.  For almost all of the land based photos, there was no need for much zoom.   Canon 7D Mark II with a Tamron 18-400 lens that just stays put, no lens changing.   And a couple cheap cell phone shots.

 

Also...and maybe you are saving this treat for later because I know you never leave out any small detail...I am dying to see a photo of the "souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive" :lol::D:lol:  I was hoping somebody would catch that running joke that will keep running until the remarkable likeness of the Sea Spirit appears in miniature at the end.

 

5 hours ago, ForWildlife said:

Only read the first page so far, will catch up on the rest for sure! What a wealth of information, and what great photos! I really like the photo with the sailboat, it adds scale to the scenery.

 

But damn...I always thought Antarctica was off the cards for me. I interviewed once for a job with the BAS in South Georgia (didn't regret not getting the job though) and I have a friend who has done several seasons as a crew member (did you encounter a guy from Alaska with a name starting with a D?) No one from Alaska or with a D-name on the crew.  and he often posts fantastic pictures. $11,000-12,000 would be by far the most expensive holiday I've done, but it is within reach with some dedicated saving over some time. Just Antarctica could be done for around half that.  Of course there is the flight to add. When you book, do you have to pay in full, or is there a downpayment and then having to pay the remainder later? Especially when booking 2 years in advance?  Immediate downpayment of 20%, which was made 20 months out, when I booked.  The remainder was not due until 90 days before departure.  I did  another $4000 about 5 months before departure, then the rest well before the 90 day deadline.  The reason I made 3 payments is my credit card limit was not high enough for a final payment of over $10,000.  The ship was registered in Cyprus so the credit card payment was made in foreign currency.  If I did not have a no-foreign-transaction-fee card, I would have mailed a check--also an option.

 

 

 

 

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Excerpt from the log provided for us on a souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive.

 

 

Jan 9, 2019 Day 5 of itinerary in Falklands, full day in Stanley (the capital).

Stanley, Falklands 3rd of 22 sites (I spent 9 hours, the maximum time, in Stanley, which included an hour for lunch and an hour in the Falkland Islands Museum and National Trust in the historical dockyards, doing both guided and unguided activities.)

 

In the morning we broke into groups of about 25 people and visited Gypsy Cove.  We observed from afar and were not allowed to walk on this or other beaches.  There may still be mines in these areas from the Falklands War in 1982.  As part of our on-board evening lecture and presentation programs, we learned about the 1982 Falklands War from the perspective of Argentinians, the British, and Falklands residents.

 

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Gypsy Cove, Stanley, Falklands, on guided walk

 

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Cliffs near Gypsy Cove, Stanley, Falklands, on guided walk

 

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Cliffs near Gypsy Cove, Stanley, Falklands – Rock Shag or Magellanic Cormorant with a chick, on guided walk. 

I needed nearly the full 83x zoom of Nikon Coolpix 900 for this.

 

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Near Gypsy Cove, Stanley, Falklands on guided walk – Antarctic Terns and a Hooded Gull

 

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Cliffs near Gypsy Cove, Stanley, Falklands on guided walk – Upland Geese

 

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Stanley, Falklands – Courthouse with an arch of Blue Whale jaw bones.  Taken when I walked around town by myself.

 

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Stanley, Falklands – showing its British heritage.  Taken when I walked around town by myself.

 

Poseidon Expeditions had an elaborate and very convenient operation to transport us all back and forth between the ship and Stanley throughout the day so that each of us could spend as much time in Stanley as we wished.  There were complimentary guided city tours and a free entrance to the Falkland Islands Museum.  We also had opportunity to have lunch on the ship or buy our own lunch in town.  Many of the passengers and crew, myself included, had a fish fry together at Stanley’s Victory Bar, $10 US dollars (no credit card only dollars.)

 

The Falklands—Come for the penguins and albatross, stay for the gnomes!

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This gnome garden was not part of the official city tour, but it was on the Stanley map we were provided, so it was easy to locate.

It is behind a wooden fence, so you have to peer over the fence to behold this colorful, odd spectacle. 

I swapped seeing the Margaret Thatcher bust for viewing the gnomes. 

I think only one other guy on the ship went to the gnomes and the rest opted for Mrs. Thatcher.

 

 

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Stanley, Falklands – Falkland Steamers, endemic to The Falklands, I took this photo just walking around by myself in Stanley. 

 

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Stanley, Falklands – Falkland Steamer, endemic.  Taken when I was just walking around Stanley alone.

 

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Stanley, Falklands – Falkland Steamer family, endemic. Taken during the afternoon guided walk back to the ship.

 

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Stanley, Falklands – Falkland Steamer juveniles. Taken when I was just walking around Stanley alone.

 

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Stanley, Falklands – Falkland Steamer ducklings.  Taken during the afternoon guided walk back to the ship.

 

All these Falkland Steamer shots give an indication of how easy it is to see and photograph this endemic species.  We saw them both at Saunders Island and around the city of Stanley.

 

 

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Stanley, Falklands – Crested Duck. Taken during the afternoon guided walk back to the ship.

 

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Stanley, Falklands – Falkland Thrush.  Taken during the afternoon guided walk back to the ship.

 

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Stanley, Falklands – Rock Shag or Megallanic Cormoront.  Taken during the afternoon guided walk back to the ship.

 

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Stanley, Falklands – Blackish Oystercatcher.   Taken during the afternoon guided walk back to the ship.

 

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Stanley, Falklands – Black crowned night heron. Taken during the afternoon guided walk back to the ship.

 

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Stanley, Falklands –Kelp Gull. Taken during the afternoon guided walk back to the ship.

 

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Stanley, Falklands –Kelp Goose, female.  Taken during the afternoon guided walk back to the ship.

 

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Stanley, Falklands – abandoned ship

 

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Stanley, Falklands shoreline

 

Some numbers to illustrate what a productive place the Falklands are:  Only 3 out of a total of 22 excursions were on the Falklands, but 28.5% of my keeper photos are on the Falklands.  It is true that the full day in Stanley was a 9-hour outing, but only half of that was photo material.  The rest was exploring the city, eating lunch, visiting the museum, etc.  Also, of the 7 penguins seen on the trip, 4 species were in the Falklands—Rockhopper, Gentoo, Megallanic, King.

 

 

 

 

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From that souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive.

 

 

Jan 10-11, 2019 Days 6-7 of itinerary, at sea, sailing toward South Georgia.

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Between Falklands and South Georgia – Wandering Albatross, photographed from ship

 

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Between Falklands and South Georgia – Wandering Albatross, taken from ship

 

 

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Between Falklands and South Georgia – Black browed Albatross, taken from ship

 

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Shag Rock, nearing South Georgia

 

Next is Jan 12, Day 8— Prion Island (4), Salisbury Plain (5),

Prince Olav Harbor (6) of South Georgia

 

 

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Subtitle: What would have been helpful for me to know when I was contemplating and planning a trip like this.   The report turned out to be longer than an Antarctic winter!  Sections are col

Those darn buckets, eh @offshorebirder? It is a magnificent destination, so the photos naturally follow, @TonyQ * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  * * * *  

Yes, South Georgia was my starting point.  I considered just a South Georgia trip.   * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *  * * * *   Q4:  When to go?

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SafariChick

@Atravelynn continuing to enjoy the report! The steamer ducklings are adorable! I would have gone for the gnomes too.  So nice to have the detailed voyage log - now I want one of those for every trip, even safaris! And I, too, am looking forward to seeing a photo of the famous souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive! 

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ForWildlife

Again, fantastic! But paying by check? Isn't that something from over 50 years ago? Seriously, never used them in Europe, only in Africa and (oddly) in the US. I wouldn't feel comfortable mailing a check to Cyprus, I would rather pay a bank transfer fee.

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Atravelynn
6 hours ago, SafariChick said:

@Atravelynn continuing to enjoy the report! The steamer ducklings are adorable! I would have gone for the gnomes too.  So nice to have the detailed voyage log -  a very nice perk from the Sea Spirit staff. We'll have to tell Doug Macdonald and Chalo to up their games and provide daily log and a uniquely shaped flashdrive. now I want one of those for every trip, even safaris! And I, too, am looking forward to seeing a photo of the famous souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive!  It is a tri-color beauty with a chain attached to its tiny bow.

 

3 hours ago, ForWildlife said:

Again, fantastic! But paying by check? Isn't that something from over 50 years ago? Seriously, never used them in Europe, only in Africa and (oddly) in the US. I wouldn't feel comfortable mailing a check to Cyprus, I would rather pay a bank transfer fee.

Let me clarify about the check, which would not be sent to Cyprus.  Agreed mailing a check to Cypus would not be a best practice!  The Polar Cruises office is in Oregon, USA and that is where the check could be sent.  Polar Cruises told me that any credit card payment would be processed out of Cyprus, even though my paperwork was mailed or faxed to Oregon. 

 

A little more on checks...Polar Cruises as well as Poseidon Expeditions grant discounts for repeat travelers.  I was discussing some possibilities well into the future with Polar Cruises and wanted to confirm that the discount they offered me would work with other early  booking discounts.  Polar Cruises stated they would honor the repeat customer discount on top of other discounts, but I would have to pay by CHECK, not credit card.  They said I should start hunting NOW for that 50 year old checkbook of mine. ^_^

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Atravelynn

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Hot off the souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive

 

Jan 12, 2019 Day 8 of itinerary. Prion Island and Salisbury Plain, Prince Olav Harbor in South Georgia.

Prion Island 4th of 22 sites (I spent1 hour 10 minutes on Prion Island, but visits to the sensitive nesting Wandering Albatross site were limited to about 15 minutes for each of our 3 groups.)

 

Restrictions at Prion Island in South Georgia limited the numbers to the Wandering Albatross nesting site to 35 people at a time, so those not in the presence of the albatrosses, admired the fur seals and King Penguins on the beach.  Unlike the other landing points, this one had wooden walkways that we remained on throughout the visit, further respecting the sensitive nature of this island.

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Prion Island, South Georgia – the beach

 

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Prion Island, South Georgia, Wandering Albatross

 

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Prion Island, South Georgia, Wandering Albatross

 

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Prion Island, South Georgia, Wandering Albatross

 

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Prion Island, South Georgia, Wandering Albatross pair

 

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Prion Island, South Georgia, Fur seals, from the zodiac

 

Salisbury Plain 5th of 22 sites (I spent 2 hours, 45 minutes spent at the site, the maximum possible.)

 

The second largest King Penguin breeding colony, with about 60,000 breeding pairs, lives in Salisbury Plain, South Georgia.

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Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

 

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Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

 

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Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – King Penguin Chicks - chick on left is molting

 

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Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – King Penguin & chick

 

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Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – King Penguins and me

 

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Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – Fur seal pup

 

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Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – Fur seal family

 

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Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

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Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – King Penguin & Chick

 

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Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – King Penguin Chicks - one molting in front of us

 

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Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – King Penguin Chick

 

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Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

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Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – King Penguins with Sea Spirit in the background

 

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Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

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Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – Fur Seal Pup

 

Prince Olav Harbor 6th of 22 sites (I spent 1 hour 55 minutes for the zodiac cruise in the harbor.  Impending rain made it dark at around 8 pm.)

 

This abandoned whaling station that was used from about 1911-1916 was viewed by zodiac on an evening outing. 

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Prince Olav Harbor, South Georgia – Abandoned Whaling Station, viewed from zodiac

 

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Prince Olav Harbor, South Georgia – Abandoned Whaling Station, viewed from zodiac

 

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Prince Olav Harbor, South Georgia – Male Leucistic Fur Seal, viewed from zodiac as the sky darkened

 

Next is Jan 13, Day 9— Cooper Bay for Macaroni Penguins (7),

Drygalksi Fjord (8), Moltke Harbor (9)

 

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Atravelynn

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Did a quick download of this log from my souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive.

 

Jan 13, 2019 Day 9 of itinerary. Cooper Bay, Drygalksi Fjord, Moltke Harbor in South Georgia.

 

Cooper Bay 7th of 22 sites (55 minute early morning zodiac cruise in the bay)

 

Macaroni Penguins are the most numerous of the penguin species but they live in areas that aren’t easy to reach.  This morning was our only opportunity to see Macaroni Penguins.  They enter the water to feed early in the morning, meaning we were leaving the ship at 5 am to be ready to view by zodiac and my photos have time stamps beginning at 5:40 am.

 

We were in position because the captain and crew sailed all night to bring us to this one spot on the southern end of South Georgia with hospitable weather.

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Cooper Bay, South Georgia – Macaroni Penguins, viewed from zodiac

 

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Cooper Bay, South Georgia – Macaroni Penguins, viewed from zodiac

 

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Cooper Bay, South Georgia – Macaroni Penguins, viewed from zodiac

 

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Cooper Bay, South Georgia – Macaroni Penguins, viewed from zodiac

 

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Cooper Bay, South Georgia – Macaroni Penguins, viewed from zodiac

 

About 7:30 am when we were back on board and viewing the rocks that had been filled with Macaroni Penguins, they were empty.   Good job by the crew to get us all out there in zodiacs for an ample serving of “breakfast Macaroni”!

 

Our first leopard seals were also spotted in Cooper Bay, one in the water and one resting on shore.   We saw 3 leopard seals the entire trip, two were in Copper Bay. 

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Cooper Bay, South Georgia – 2 Leopard Seals, viewed from zodiac.  No dunking fingers in the cold water to test the temperature, due to these guys.  Bottom photo: Along with the leopard seal is a Fur Seal, King Penguins, and a Skua behind the Leopard Seal.

 

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This wound may be a result of a leopard seal encounter and leaves the penguin with an uncertain future.

 

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Cooper Bay, South Georgia – Penguins swimming, Sea Spirit and iceberg, all from the zodiac

 

 

Drygalski Fjord 8th of 22 sites (90 minutes, viewed from the ship, nice views all decks)

 

This fjord and the scenery around it was a landscape highlight.  We had to view in the fog on the way in.  As we reached the fjord, the sun broke through on cue and remained shining, showing shades of blue and turquoise.

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Near Drygalksi Fjord, South Georgia, viewed from the ship

 

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Near Drygalksi Fjord, South Georgia, viewed from the ship

 

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Near Drygalksi Fjord, South Georgia, viewed from the ship

 

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Near Drygalksi Fjord, South Georgia, viewed from the ship

 

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Near Drygalksi Fjord, South Georgia, viewed from the ship, unknown bird

 

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Near Drygalksi Fjord, South Georgia, viewed from the ship

 

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Near Drygalksi Fjord, South Georgia – White browed Albatross - viewed from the ship

 

 

 Moltke Harbor 9th of 22 sites (short visit in the evening, 45 minutes at the site)

 

This brief evening excursion that only about 3/4 of the passengers participated in was added because we were uncertain if the weather would prevent us from visiting the areas in South Georgia that we hoped to reach.  But we knew we could get to this spot so it was “Board the zodiacs” and head ashore.

 

Overcast, brooding conditions were what we encountered for over half of all excursions, even though the photos chosen for this report don’t show it.  This was typical.

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Moltke Harbor, South Georgia – Upon closer inspection there are many fur seals and even penguins.

 

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Moltke Harbor was our first good look at elephant seals (next photo), which are much larger than fur seals (photo above.)

 

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Moltke Harbor, South Georgia – Elephant seal

 

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Moltke Harbor, South Georgia – Elephant seal

   Next is Jan 14, Day 10 — Jason Harbor (10),

Grytviken where Shackleton is buried (11),

pre-cruise reading recommendations

 

Edited by Atravelynn
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michael-ibk

I absolutely love the South Georgia wide-angle shots. Just like the Nat Geo stuff, breathtakingly beautiful.

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offshorebirder

Some really smashing photos @Atravelynn.   Lots of good landscapes and critter shots.   Quite the stories some of them tell!

 

If I had to guess, I would call those Skuas eating the dead penguin chick Brown Skuas.  

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Atravelynn
14 hours ago, offshorebirder said:

Some really smashing photos @Atravelynn.   Thanks!  Lots of good landscapes and critter shots.   Quite the stories some of them tell!

 

If I had to guess, I would call those Skuas eating the dead penguin chick Brown Skuas.  

Thank you for guessing on the skuas.  I consulted the wildlife list that was provided for us on the souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive and that confirms it was a Falkland Skua, which some have split off from the Brown Skua.  So you are correct  Later we saw some Chilean Skuas, aka Cinnamon Skuas.  To make things more complex the skua species can interbreed.

 

 

Thanks @michael-ibk, there was scenery in abundance, but not necessarily good light in abundance.  The sun did pop out at very opportune times for us, though.

 

 

 

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Jan 14, 2019 Day 10 of itinerary. Jason Harbor and Grytviken in South Georgia.

 

Jason Harbor 10th of 22 sites (I spent the max of 2 hours at this site.) 

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Jason Harbor, South Georgia--fur seal in foreground & kayakers way in the back

 

 

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Jason Harbor, South Georgia – Elephant Seals

 

 

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Jason Harbor, South Georgia – Fur seal pup

 

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Jason Harbor, South Georgia

 

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Jason Harbor, South Georgia – swimming King Penguins

 

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Jason Harbor, South Georgia – King Penguins coming out of the water

 

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Jason Harbor, South Georgia – Fur seal pup

 

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Jason Harbor, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

 

Grytviken 11th of 22 sites (Normally this site is scheduled for about a 4-hour visit.  But waves and wind delayed our departure from the ship, so that we had only about 2 hours and 15 minutes.)

 

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Grytviken, South Georgia – Fur seals in front of abandoned whaling boat

 

It would have been interesting to take more photos of the antique rusting whaling implements, but there was a persistent, heavy rain and even sleet during our entire visit that made photography difficult.

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Grytviken, South Georgia – Fur seals just out of the water on abandoned equipment from whaling days.

 

Grytviken means pot cove in Norwegian and Swedish and was named for the pots, used to extract oil from whale blubber back when this was a whaling station in the early 1900’s.  There is a museum with a replica of the James Caird*, a church that you can enter and an operating post office.  Guided tours of Shackleton’s experience on the island and the whaling functions from days gone by were arranged for us.  I bought, wrote, stamped, and mailed several postcards while here, each was a couple of US dollars, which was the accepted currency.

 

Grytviken’s cemetery contains 64 graves, including Sir Ernest Shackleton and the ashes of Frank Wild*

 

On board we had several fascinating lectures and films of Ernest Shackleton’s incredible Antarctic expedition on the Endurance in 1914.  Twenty months between booking and departing is ample time to research some of the famous Antarctic Explorers.  Some good sources that I enjoyed:

 

Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

 

The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition by Caroline Alexander

 

The Liam Neeson narrated documentary from 2000, Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition, directed by George Butler, based on Caroline Alexander’s book (1 hour, 37 minutes)

 

A First Rate Tragedy: Robert Falcon Scott and the race to the South Pole by Diana Preston

 

The last Viking : the life of Roald Amundsen by Stephen R. Bown

 

The Sea Spirit’s library had a large collection of Antarctic books.  One I found particularly interesting was The Lost Photographs of Captain Scott by David M Wilson.

 

A t-shirt, which was available in the Grytviken gift shop, offered a good summary of these Arctic explorers:  "For speed and efficiency of travel, give me Amundsen. For scientific discovery, give me Scott. But when disaster strikes and all hope is gone, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton."  Leave it to a t-shirt, $25 I believe.

 

*More on the James Caird and on Frank Wild when Elephant Island is visited.

 

 

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Grytviken, South Georgia – Fur seals in front of abandoned whaling boat

 

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Grytviken, South Georgia – Fur seals

 

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Grytviken, South Georgia – Fur seals

 

 Next is Jan 15 Day 11 — Ocean Harbor (12) & St. Andrews Bay (13),

the last sites visited on South Georgia

 

Edited by Atravelynn
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Treepol

@Atravelynn what an amazing adventure and your photos are wonderful. Thanks for the planning details and comparative information, you have already answered many of the issues I have pondered when thinking about a Southern Ocean adventure.

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Atravelynn
6 hours ago, Treepol said:

@Atravelynn what an amazing adventure and your photos are wonderful. Thanks for the planning details and comparative information, you have already answered many of the issues I have pondered when thinking about a Southern Ocean adventure.

I like that term "Southern Ocean Adventure" and may incorporate it into the trip report before I am done.  I know you like 6 week trips.  There are some that go for a month plus and those would definitely be a Southern Ocean Adventure!

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Atravelynn

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Look what I found on my  souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive.

 

 

Jan 15, 2019 Day 11 of itinerary. Ocean Harbor and St. Andrews Bay in South Georgia.

Ocean Harbor 12th of 22 sites (I spent the maximum of 2 hours 50 minutes at this site.)

 

An abandoned ship, The Bayard, built in 1864, sits at the entrance to Ocean Harbor.

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Ocean Harbor, South Georgia – Abandoned ship now a home for South Georgian Shags (cormorants) but they are hard to see.

 

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Ocean Harbor, South Georgia – The only locomotive in South Georgia was in Ocean Harbor.  No longer in use.

 

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Ocean Harbor, South Georgia – building now abandoned

 

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Ocean Harbor, South Georgia – Fur Seals

 

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Ocean Harbor, South Georgia – Fur Seal nursing

 

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Ocean Harbor, South Georgia – Fur Seal

 

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Ocean Harbor, South Georgia – Fur seal pups, looking like dead fish after playing in the water.

 

 

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Ocean Harbor, South Georgia – Young elephant seal

 

The only adult male elephant seal, with the trunk-like nose, seen on this trip was seen at Ocean Harbor.  In January most of the male elephant seals are out at sea and not on the beaches.

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Ocean Harbor, South Georgia – Male Elephant Seal

 

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Ocean Harbor, South Georgia – Male Elephant Seal

 

Compare the male elephant seal with the male fur seal.

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Ocean Harbor, South Georgia – Male Fur Seal

 

One of the leucistic seals we saw was a mother with a normal color pup.

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Ocean Harbor, South Georgia – Leucistic mother seal and pup

 

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Ocean Harbor, South Georgia – Giant Petrel

 

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Ocean Harbor, South Georgia – Brown Skuas

 

Leaving Ocean Harbor in South Georgia.

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South Georgia, taken from ship

 

Andrews Bay 13th of 22 sites (3 hours 45 minutes spent at this site, the maximum.)

 

This site is typically a highlight of South Georgia and of the entire cruise. It turned out to be our sunniest day of the whole trip. There are 175,000 breeding pairs of King Penguins at Andrews Bay and many of the pairs have a chick.

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Andrews Bay, South Georgia - panoramic

 

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St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins in the water, taken from the zodiac

 

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St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins in the water, taken from the zodiac

 

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St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – Leucistic fur seal

 

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St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – Leucistic fur seal

 

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St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins and fur seal

 

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ST. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – Brown Skua taking a bath

 

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St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – Elephant Seals

 

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St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – Elephant Seals

 

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St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

 

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St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

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ST. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins & me

 

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St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

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St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguin

 

 

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St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia, taken from zodiac – King Penguin chicks that were once in the eggs on their parents’ feet

 

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St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins & Fur Seals

 

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St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

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St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

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St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

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St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

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St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

Impending bad weather meant we left South Georgia right after St. Andrews Bay, which was one day early, to make our way to Antarctica.  When booking the itinerary, I knew that 5 days allotted to South Georgia would increase the odds of spending at least several days there.  The 4 full days we were there often had 3 activities per day because we could see at our nightly briefings that high wind and waves were a continual threat and cancellations to our South Georgia activities might have to occur.  Fortunately, with the flexibility of the captain and crew, we were able to out maneuver the weather chart by criss-crossing the island in search of fleeting calm at the landing spots.

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Leaving South Georgia, taken from ship

 

Our farewell to south Georgia was accompanied by a dessert buffet after dinner and a spectacular sunset.  What a send-off.

Next is sailing to Antarctica, historic Elephant Island,

Turret Point & Deception Island of The South Shetland Islands,

Jan 16 – 19, Days 12-15

 

Edited by Atravelynn
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ForWildlife
On 6/8/2019 at 2:56 PM, Atravelynn said:

I like that term "Southern Ocean Adventure" and may incorporate it into the trip report before I am done.  I know you like 6 week trips.  There are some that go for a month plus and those would definitely be a Southern Ocean Adventure!

 

I think the Plancius used to do a 6 week trip called the Atlantic Odyssey which did Ushuaia, Falklands, South Georgia, St Helena, Ascension, Tristan da Cunha ending on the Canary Islands. I know it was popular with bird watchers. Not sure if they still do those, I do remember some years back that the trip was cancelled in South Georgia when the ship needed a repair. Passengers got to spend over a week on South Georgia and (what I understood from the Dutch bird watching participants) everything was taken care off very well (some did the trip 1-2 years later again).

 

edit: Obviously they visited Antarctica too on those trips, I saw I left that out.

 

I did not know that about the feet! Very cool adaptation.

Edited by ForWildlife
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offshorebirder

"World's biggest colony of King Penguins".    Hard to top that.

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Atravelynn
On 6/9/2019 at 6:41 AM, ForWildlife said:

 

I think the Plancius used to do a 6 week trip called the Atlantic Odyssey which did Ushuaia, Falklands, South Georgia, St Helena, Ascension, Tristan da Cunha ending on the Canary Islands. I know it was popular with bird watchers. Not sure if they still do those, I do remember some years back that the trip was cancelled in South Georgia when the ship needed a repair. Passengers got to spend over a week on South Georgia and (what I understood from the Dutch bird watching participants) everything was taken care off very well (some did the trip 1-2 years later again).

 

I did not know that about the feet! Very cool adaptation.

Well, there you go @Treepol!  As Wildlife mentioned, above, that itinerary includes Antarctica.

 

 

Eleven days into the 21-day itinerary, the Falklands and South Georgia had comprised 13 of the 22 activities we would eventually complete (3 in Falklands and 10 on South Georgia).  As we left South Georgia, the talk on the ship was that we couldn’t believe all we had seen and we still had Antarctica to look forward to, weather permitting of course.

 

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Jan 16, 17, 18, 2019 Days 12, 13, 14 of the itinerary.  Elephant Island.

 

We required 3 sea days to get to Antarctica whereas the stated itinerary showed 2 days.  To avoid the worst of the rough seas, we took a non-linear route, requiring more time in order to reduce the discomfort for the passengers. 

 

Elephant Island 14th of 22 sites (viewed from the ship for 30 minutes)

 

The evening of Jan 18, we could see Elephant Island from the ship, so named because of both the elephant seals that haul out on the island and its elephant-like shape.  We could see Point Wild, named for Frank Wild*, who was appointed leader of the 22 men who remained on Elephant Island while Shackleton and 5 other men sailed for help in the 22-foot lifeboat, the James Caird*.  It was Frank Wild’s ashes that were buried next to Shackleton.  These names are a mere allusion to the fascinating, death-defying, and sometimes deadly history of the exploration of the Antarctic, which is enthralling to learn about, even if no Southern Ocean Adventure is on your travel list.

 

* Back in Grytviken, Frank Wild and the James Caird were mentioned.

large.1534749922_g6bDSCN7551NearingAntarcticaElephantIslandindistanceshipflag.jpg.a4900169929bc12df1b8ffac406b8eb6.jpg

Elephant Island where 22 members of Ernest Shackleton’s crew remained for over 4 months awaiting rescue--they all made it! 

The elephant shape is not evident from this view, nor could we see any elephant seals.

 

 

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Nearing Antarctica, taken from ship

 

 

The seas and wind eventually calmed and the dining room returned to full capacity again.

 

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Jan 19, Day 15 of the itinerary. Turret Point and Deception Island of the South Shetland Islands.

 

Turret Point on the Southern Coast of King George Island, South Shetlands 15th of 22 sites  (1 hour 45 minutes, the max,  spent at this site.)

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Turret Point, Southern Coast King George Island, South Shetlands – Elephant seals looking like they are happy to greet us. 

I liked how the algae matched the tongue color.

 

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Turret Point, Southern Coast King George Island, South Shetlands – Chinstrap Penguins

 

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Turrett Point in Shetland Islands, north of Antarctica - Adélie Penguin, very few seen. This was our only location for photos.

 

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Turrett Point in Shetland Islands, north of Antarctica - Adélie Penguin again.

 

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Turret Point, Southern Coast of King George Island, South Shetlands, on the way to Antarctica – Male Fur Seals sparring for dominance.

 

 

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Turret Point, Southern Coast of King George Island, South Shetlands, north of Antarctica – Elephant Seals

 

 

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Turret Point, Southern Coast of King George Island, South Shetlands, on the way to Antarctica – Antarctic Shag

 

 

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Turret Point, Southern Coast of King George Island, South Shetlands, on the way to Antarctica – Antarctic Shag

 

 

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Shetland Islands on the way to Antarctica, taken from ship – 2 humpback whales

 

Deception Island, Active Volcano, South Shetlands 16th of 22 sites (1 hour 40 minutes spent at this site.)

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Active Volcano, Deception Island in South Shetland Islands, north of Antarctica, taken from the ship

 

A lesson was reinforced for me with our Deception Island outing—always bring your camera.  As we were queuing for the zodiacs there was a driving rain and I decided against taking my better equipment into the deluge, relying on my cellphone for this landscape—not wildlife—excursion.  The moment my zodiac departed the ship, the rain ceased.  Lounging on Deception Island was the only Weddell Seal I saw.  A good camera would have done a better job of capturing the Weddell Seal.  My old cellphone portrayed the scene as an eerie, ghostlike land and seascape.

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Weddell Seal at Deception Island in Shetland Islands, north of Antarctica (old cellphone photo)

 

 

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Active Volcano, Deception Island in South Shetland Islands, north of Antarctica

 

 

The red parkas we were given at times contributed to the overall image.

 

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Sea Spirit viewed from Deception Island in South Shetland Islands

 

Next is Jan 20, Day 16: Danco Island (17),

Chilean Research Station on Antarctica (18)

 

 

Edited by Atravelynn
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Atravelynn

 

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 Jan 20, Day 16 of the itinerary. Danco Island, off Antarctica and Gonzalez Videla Chilean Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula.

 

 

Danco Island, off of Antarctica 17th of 22 sites (I spent the max 2 hours, 40 minutes spent at this site.)

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Danco Island, off Antarctica – Sea Spirit in the distance, passengers in red parkas

 

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Danco Island, off Antarctica – Icebergs off of Danco Island

 

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Danco Island, Antarctica - me

 

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Danco Island, off Antarctica -- Gentoos

 

 

Our first penguins in the snow!

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Danco Island, off Antarctica -- Gentoos, nestbuilding

 

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Danco Island, off Antarctica -- Gentoos

 

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Danco Island, off Antarctica – Gentoos

 

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Danco Island, off Antarctica – Gentoo Highway

 

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Danco Island, off Antarctica – Gentoo Highway

 

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Danco Island, off Antarctica – arriving zodiacs

 

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Danco Island, off Antarctica

 

Gonzalez Videla Chilean Research Station 18th of 22 sites

(I spent 1 hour and 20 minutes in the zodiac, and then 1 hour and 30 minutes, the max, on land)

 

First, the zodiac cruise in the waters around station, which was our best view of penguins on the icebergs.

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Zodiac Cruise near the Gonzalez Videla Chilean Research Station, Antarctica Peninsula

 

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Zodiac Cruise near the Gonzalez Videla Chilean Research Station, Antarctica Peninsula

 

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Zodiac Cruise near the Gonzalez Videla Chilean Research Station, Antarctica Peninsula

 

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Zodiac Cruise near the Gonzalez Videla Chilean Research Station, Antarctica Peninsula

 

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Zodiac Cruise near the Gonzalez Videla Chilean Research Station, Antarctica Peninsula – closest to a BIF Penguin that I got

 

This was our first landing on the continent of Antarctica!  Until the zodiac came ashore and we got out, we could not truly claim we had reached Antarctica.  This station had a lot of penguin and Sheathbill activity, making it a desirable photographic landing spot and not merely a continent check-off.

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Gonzalez Videla Chilean Research Station, Antarctica Peninsula

 

 

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Gonzalez Videla Chilean Research Station, Antarctica Peninsula – Sheathbills

 

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Gonzalez Videla Chilean Research Station, Antarctica Peninsula – Gentoo with chicks

 

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Gonzalez Videla Chilean Research Station, Antarctica Peninsula – Gentoo with chicks

 

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As trip leader, Anja, warned us, “This penguin is not an eye mistake.”

 

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Gonzalez Videla Chilean Research Station, Antarctica Peninsula – Leucistic Gentoo visible for a few moments

 

I saw only one egg the entire trip and here it is.  Egg laying season is more in December than January, though it was possible we could have seen some eggs.

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Gonzalez Videla Chilean Research Station, Antarctica Peninsula – only egg of the trip, Gentoo

 

 

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Gonzalez Videla Chilean Research Station, Antarctica Peninsula & me – setting foot on Antarctica for the first time

 

 

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Gonzalez Videla Chilean Research Station, Antarctica Peninsula – squabble between Gentoos

 

Next is Jan 21, Day 17- Cuverville Island (19), Brown Argentinian Research Station (20)

 

 

Edited by Atravelynn
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janzin

You're killing me with this report. So amazing--the wildlife and the scenery and the whole experience. I was really not that keen on Antarctica but you are really selling me :)

 

I'd even be tempted to do a trip that only goes to the Fauklands and South Georgia, without going all the way to Antarctica...if such a trip even exists. Although on the one hand it seems if you got that far, one might as well go all the way. But on the other hand...most of the wildlife, cheaper, and shorter, and without the long days at sea. Something to think about.

 

You don't look that cold in that last photo of you...no gloves even!! How could would you say it was on that day in the snow? 

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offshorebirder

@Atravelynn - in the second photo of the Zodiac Cruise to the Gonzalez Videla Chilean Research Station, some kind of Storm-Petrel is photo-bombing the penguins.    It seems to be one of the white-rumped variety of dark storm-petrels, but I do not think it is a Wilson's Storm-Petrel.

 

 

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ForWildlife

:D I noticed the same and was wondering what storm petrel it might be. I've never seen a storm petrel, not even a Wilson's storm petrel, one of the most numerous birds in the world!

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Atravelynn
On 6/11/2019 at 9:00 AM, janzin said:

You're killing me with this report. So amazing--the wildlife and the scenery and the whole experience. I was really not that keen on Antarctica but you are really selling me :) I should seek 2% commission!

 

I'd even be tempted to do a trip that only goes to the Fauklands and South Georgia, without going all the way to Antarctica...if such a trip even exists. Although on the one hand it seems if you got that far, one might as well go all the way. But on the other hand...most of the wildlife, cheaper, and shorter, and without the long days at sea. Something to think about.  Nat Geo does one to those two locations.  There are a few to South Georgia only.  You can arrange a Falkands trip, staying a few days to a couple of weeks, usually flying out of Chile. 

 

You don't look that cold in that last photo of you...no gloves even!! How could would you say it was on that day in the snow?   It was never that cold and I tend to be colder than the average person.  Our coldest in Antarctica was mid-teens with windchill.  So the windchill brought it down to teens.  The wind could be rather strong.  Fighting cold on the excursions was not a problem because the parkas and boots provided are top notch and I had good Gortex waterproof pants.  The only cold parts were hands when fingers were exposed for photography, but good gloves/mittens warmed up the fingers after the shots were taken.  I have some gear links in the last part on Helpful Hints and Things I Learned

 

On 6/11/2019 at 6:30 PM, offshorebirder said:

@Atravelynn - in the second photo of the Zodiac Cruise to the Gonzalez Videla Chilean Research Station, some kind of Storm-Petrel is photo-bombing the penguins.    It seems to be one of the white-rumped variety of dark storm-petrels, but I do not think it is a Wilson's Storm-Petrel.  Thank you.  I was thinking of adding the label "unknown bird."  But it is unknown no more.

 

 

 

On 6/12/2019 at 8:33 AM, ForWildlife said:

:D I noticed the same and was wondering what storm petrel it might be. I've never seen a storm petrel, not even a Wilson's storm petrel, one of the most numerous birds in the world!  Then you'll have to book a Southern Ocean Adventure posthaste!

 

 

 

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Direct from the souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive to your eyes.

 

Jan 21, Day 17 of the itinerary. Cuverville Island, off Antarctica and Almirante Brown Agrentinian Research Station on the Antarctic Peninsula.

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Here is the harrowing Shakleton Climb the Glacier Excursion................................Oh, wait, this is a photo, taken out my own window, of icebergs along

the shore of Lake Michigan.  Photo taken shortly after I got home, where temps were well below zero without windchill

compared to mid-teens with windchill during the coldest days in Antarctica.

 

Cuverville Island, off of Antarctica 19th of 22 sites (I spent 2 hours, 40 minutes spent at this site)

 

One of the largest Gentoo colonies lives on Cuverville.  Here are 4 members.

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Cuverville Island, Antarctica – Gentoo Penguins, zodiac approach, Sea Spirit in distance

 

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Cuverville Island, Antarctic Peninsula – Gentoos

 

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Cuverville Island, Antarctica – Gentoos taking to the water

 

This is one of my favorite trip photos and I have the combination of orange feet and seaweed to thank.

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Cuverville Island, Antarctica Peninsula – Gentoos, orange feet and seaweed

 

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Cuverville Island, Antarctica Peninsula – Gentoos on bellies

 

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Cuverville Island, Antarctic Peninsula – Gentoos

 

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Cuverville Island, Antarctica Peninsula – Skuas (Chilean, I think)  eating a Gentoo chick

 

 

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Cuverville Island, Antarctica Peninsula – Gentoo Highway

 

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Near Cuverville Island, Antarctica – taken from ship

 

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Nice sunset after leaving Cuverville Island, Antarctica – taken from ship

 

 

Almirante Brown Argentinian Research Station 20th of 22 sites (I spent 1 hour and 30 minutes on land and 1 hour and 35 minutes in the zodiac.)

In 1984 the doctor at the Brown Research Station went mad when he was told he must spend the winter in Antarctica and burned down the entire base.  There were seven members stationed at Brown and all were rescued by an American research vessel.

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Almirante Brown Argentinian Research Station is visible, Antarctic Peninsula – taken from zodiac. 

 

Taking advantage of a second landing on the Antarctic continent, we climbed a snowy hill above the station for views of the entire Brown Research Station base and of the whales in the surrounding waters.  It was reassuring to know we had two shots at setting foot on Antarctica and fortunately both landings were completed.

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Almirante Brown Argentinian Research Station, Antarctic Peninsula --Taken from high up the hill, Sea Spirit in harbor.  A few penguins are visible.

 

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Almirante Brown Argentinian Research Station, Antarctic Peninsula – Humpbacks seen from land

 

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Almirante Brown Argentinian Research Station, Antarctic Peninsula – Humpbacks seen from land

 

 

Unlike Gonzalez Videla Research Station where there was an abundance of penguin activity, there was not much at Brown Research Station.  But there was a unique opportunity that was not promoted or endorsed by Poseidon Expeditions—human bobsledding down the hill.  I did not participate but those that did had fun.  There was one minor injury, a bloody but not broken, nose.

 

The photo opportunities were much more plentiful from the zodiac versus from land at Brown Research station.

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Zodiac Cruise near the Almirante Brown Argentinian Research Station, Antarctic Peninsula – There are two humpbacks here.

 

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Zodiac Cruise near the Almirante Brown Argentinian Research Station, Antarctic Peninsula

 

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Zodiac Cruise near the Almirante Brown Argentinian Research Station, Antarctic Peninsula

 

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Zodiac Cruise near the Almirante Brown Argentinian Research Station, Antarctic Peninsula

 

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Zodiac Cruise near the Almirante Brown Argentinian Research Station, Antarctic Peninsula – Antarctic Shag.  Three adults and a chick.

 

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Zodiac Cruise near the Almirante Brown Argentinian Research Station, Antarctic Peninsula – Antarctic Shag.  There is a chick between the parents.

 

We saw three Leopard Seals during the trip.  This was an arresting, reptilian-like, almost prehistoric sight that suddenly popped up behind an iceberg.  We understood why we were always cautioned to keep our hands in the zodiac .

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Zodiac Cruise near the Almirante Brown Argentinian Research Station, Antarctic Peninsula – Leopard Seal

 

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Zodiac Cruise near the Almirante Brown Argentinian Research Station, Antarctic Peninsula – Humpback blow, 2 humpbacks

 

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Zodiac Cruise near the Almirante Brown Argentinian Research Station, Antarctic Peninsula – Humpbacks

 

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Zodiac Cruise near the Almirante Brown Argentinian Research Station, Antarctic Peninsula – Humpbacks

 

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Zodiac Cruise near the Almirante Brown Argentinian Research Station, Antarctic Peninsula – Humpback fluke

 

 

Next is Day 18, Jan 22. Half Moon Island (21) Aitcho Island (22)

of The South Shetland Islands, wrapping up the excursions.

 Q7 Flying the Drake?

 

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janzin
13 minutes ago, Atravelynn said:

I'd even be tempted to do a trip that only goes to the Fauklands and South Georgia, without going all the way to Antarctica...if such a trip even exists. Although on the one hand it seems if you got that far, one might as well go all the way. But on the other hand...most of the wildlife, cheaper, and shorter, and without the long days at sea. Something to think about.  Nat Geo does one to those two locations.  There are a few to South Georgia only.  You can arrange a Falkands trip, staying a few days to a couple of weeks, usually flying out of Chile. 

 

I checked out that Nat Geo trip---its even more expensive than the Antarctica trip! Minimum $17K! So no advantage there :o

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Atravelynn
1 minute ago, janzin said:

 

I checked out that Nat Geo trip---its even more expensive than the Antarctica trip! Minimum $17K! So no advantage there :o

I had been told that the South Georgia trips (without Antarctica) tend to be more expensive and your investigation proves it.  I did not see the cost when checking out the Nat Geo trip.

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Zim Girl

@janzin  Exodus are running a couple of Falkland/South Georgia trips, one of them being a photographic charter with Paul Goldstein and Chris Packham. See link https://www.exodus.co.uk/polar-holidays/antarctica

 

Apologies @Atravelynn for interrupting this absolutely brilliant report.  Fantastic details and really lovely photos.  The Antarctic scenery is amazing and all the penguins are fabulous.

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Atravelynn
11 hours ago, Zim Girl said:

@janzin  Exodus are running a couple of Falkland/South Georgia trips, one of them being a photographic charter with Paul Goldstein and Chris Packham. See link https://www.exodus.co.uk/polar-holidays/antarctica

 

Apologies @Atravelynn for interrupting this absolutely brilliant report.  Fantastic details and really lovely photos.  The Antarctic scenery is amazing and all the penguins are fabulous.

Not an interruption, an enhancement.  I'm interested in those trips too!

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Atravelynn

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Jan 22, Day 18 of the itinerary. Half Moon Island and Aitcho Island of the South Shetland Islands.  Last land excursions.

Half Moon Island, South Shetland Islands 21st of 22 sites (I spent 2 hours and 15 minutes at this site, the max.)

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Half Moon Island of South Shetlands – Chinstrap Penguins in front of ice

 

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Half Moon Island of South Shetlands – Chinstrap Penguins going to nests up high in the cliffs, which offer shelter from the wind

 

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Half Moon Island of South Shetlands – Dilapidated boat.  Like in the museums, "Don't touch."  That's always true for the penguins.

 

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Half Moon Island of South Shetlands – Chinstrap Penguin hopping between rocks

 

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Half Moon Island of South Shetlands – Chinstrap

 

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Half Moon Island of South Shetlands – Chinstrap Penguin chick feeding

 

I saw quite a bit of nest building in both the Falklands and the various southern locations in the South Shetlands.  Nest building is at its height in December per the “when to go” Antarctica guides.

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Half Moon Island of South Shetlands – Chinstrap nest building

 

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Half Moon Island of South Shetlands – Lots of activity including a Sheathbill

 

Half Moon Island was a very muddy location.  To remove the mud from our boots before hopping in the zodiac we did a modified polar plunge/group bath in water about a foot deep.  We also were given brushes to scrub our boots and the staff helped scrub the backs of our rain pants, where we could not see.

 

 

 Aitcho Island, South Shetland Islands 22nd of 22 sites (I spent 2 hours and 15 minutes at this site, the max.)

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Aitcho Island of South Shetlands – Chinstraps

 

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Aitcho Island of South Shetlands – Chinstraps

 

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Aitcho Island of South Shetlands – Active Gentoo chicks

 

 

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Aitcho Island of South Shetlands – Gentoo and chick

 

 

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Aitcho Island of South Shetlands – Gentoos warding off a Skua, a threat to the chicks

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Aitcho Island of South Shetlands – Gentoos warding off a Skua, a threat to the chicks

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The pole in the background has a research camera on top.  It could also be used to monitor human visitor behavior, a good idea.

 

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Aitcho Island of South Shetlands – Gentoos warding off a Skua, a threat to the chicks

 

 

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Aitcho Island of South Shetlands – Gentoos squabbling

 

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Aitcho Island of South Shetlands –Squabble between species:  Gentoo and Chinstrap. It ended without injury.

 

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Aitcho Island of South Shetlands – Chinstraps

 

 

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Aitcho Island of South Shetlands – Gentoos and Sea Spirit behind

 

We said good-bye to Antarctica with our only movie of the trip, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, playing in the Oceanic Lounge.  When the HMS Surprise, captained by Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe), was pitching and rolling on the screen and we were doing the same, it almost seemed the motions might cancel each other out.

 

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Antarctica, taken from ship

 

 

 

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Last of the log, provided on the souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive, which will make an appearance at the end of the report.

 

Jan 23-24, Day 19-20 of the itinerary. Sailing back to Ushuaia.  Drake Passage Crossing.

“Drake Lake” was my fortunate experience.  Mid-season travel of Dec-Jan increases the odds of a smoother passage, but it is really a crap shoot.

 

************************************************************

Q7:  Is flying across the Drake Passage a good option?

A7:   My investigations into flying led to these findings.

 

a) “Flying the Drake” does not mean you eliminate all potential for seasickness; it just means you don’t sail to Antarctica from South America, which requires passing through the often-tumultuous Drake Passage.  The flight is usually from South America to King George Island in the South Shetland Islands, then you sail to Antarctica from there, so you are still at the mercy of the ocean conditions.  

 

b) Flying increases the cost of the trip, but there are still “Fly the Drake” options from under $10K to $25K+

 

https://www.polarcruises.com/antarctica/destinations/fly-drake


c) If time is the issue, then flying is a good idea to cut out sailing time...

 

d) ...but there is a slim chance of the flight being grounded for hours, days, or even a week.  While there is also a chance that a ship could not make it to various landing spots, it is far less likely that an entire ship-based cruise would be cancelled due to ice or weather than it is a plane could be grounded.

If the grounding is when you are in South America on the way to Antarctica, the worst case is you miss the cruise, but you can still fly back home on your return flight. 

 

If the grounding is on King George when you are headed back, then you are less in control because there is no other option to return to South America and it is possible you’d miss your flight home.  Such disruptions are not common and you can buy insurance to cover those contingencies.  I discussed all this, including the particulars of the insurance for Fly the Drake itineraries, with Polar Cruises.

 

I would not have let the possibility of a grounded flight deter me from a “Fly the Drake” itinerary, if that is what I had chosen.  I opted not to fly because I liked the itinerary I booked, which was ship-based with no flying.

 

e) The crew and staff on Sea Spirit mentioned that in general the type of passenger doing the fly-ins is less of a nature enthusiast and the atmosphere on the ship reflects that.  They added that the most motivated, get-out-there types, who also tend to be the most easy-going when back on board, are on the Falklands-South Georgia-Antarctica passengers.  Broad brush for sure, but thought I’d pass that tidbit on.  IMO it applied to almost everyone on our trip.

************************************************************

 

 

It was exciting to have several pods of dolphins appear as we returned to Ushuaia, the only dolphins of the trip.

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Dolphins escorting us back to Ushuaia, taken from the ship.  The lower decks offered the best position and most attractive angle for the fast moving dolphin pod, but upper decks gave a wider angle and area to help locate the dolphins.  Surprisingly, about 10 of us were out on deck trying for photos.  I would have thought it would be all hands on deck and we'd be jockeying for position. 

 

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Coming back to Ushuaia, taken from ship

 

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Ushuaia from the ship, we arrived in the early evening after picking up a "pilot," a local seafaring expert who boarded to help escort us the last miles.  We also had a pilot on the way out, which is the practice.

 

Jan 25, Day 21 of the itinerary. Disembarking in Ushuaia.

 

We had breakfast, and prepared to disembark about 8:00 am. People and luggage were sorted based on where they were going.  Complimentary buses took us to the airport or into town.  I went straight to the airport with my luggage for my 1:45 pm flight.  One odd thing for people who wanted to store their luggage near the dock, go into town for a few hours, then retrieve their bags and take a taxi to the airport:  the luggage storage place closed for a couple of hours during lunch.  Some people found that out when they went to get their bags and had to wait. Important to know.

Next is Q8:   Which Penguin Species were seen? Emperor?

Q9: IUCN Status of penguins?

Q10:  Environmentally, how is the Antarctic doing?

 

Edited by Atravelynn
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