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Atravelynn

Q8:  What penguins are likely to be seen on this itinerary and is the Emperor Penguin typically found? 

 

 

Q9: How are those penguin species doing?

 

 

A8:  Seven species of penguins were seen, but not the Emperor Penguin.  While it is possible to see the largest penguin species, the Emperor, the crew members I spoke with said they had not ever seen one on our itinerary.  It is possible to see Emperors in the Weddell Sea if there is enough ice floe for them.  Some trips include helicopters to the ice floes to increase the chances of seeing the Emperors.  Also, trips leaving from Australia have the Emperor as their target.  The cost of those trips is around $75,000 USD I was told.  The King Penguin looks very similar to the Emperor, but is a little smaller.

 

Sad news, with an element of positive news (Emperors moving to new locations and increasing the colonies there), on the demise of the second largest Emperor Penguin colony:

 https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/25/weather/penguins-antarctic-halley-scn-scli-intl/index.html

A8 & A9:    Status of the seven penguin species seen on this trip is per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).  Other sources sometimes differ on the status of species from what IUCN shows.  And some penguins are thriving in a particular area, even though their numbers overall are decreasing.    (Many counts of penguins use pairs.  Most of the numbers here represent individuals, not pairs.)

iucn.jpg.c5881d864036d153baed418acf8aab26.jpg

 

Rockhoppers Of the 3 subspecies—Northern, Southern and Eastern—the Southern Rockhopper (which we saw) is found in the Falklands and its current status is vulnerable.

In the Falklands, a 30% decline from 2000-2005 was followed by a 36% increase from 2005 to 2010.  The increase was attributed to tougher enforcement of fishing regulations. Even with the increase, numbers are less than decades ago. For the Southern Rockhopper, there are about 1 million to 2.5 million.

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Westpoint, Falklands – Rockhopper Penguins (1)

 

Interestingly the effects of tourism on penguin and albatross colonies in the Falklands showed a statistically insignificant benefit for touristed colonies compared with colonies that were not visited.  If that benefit is accurate, one theory is that skuas that prey on the penguin and albatross eggs and chicks might be disrupted by visitors.

 

Gentoos This species is actually increasing in many areas and at least remaining stable overall because it has adapted its diet.  A decrease in krill due to warming waters and decreased hunting of whales (more whales eat more krill) means less food for penguins.  But gentoos are the fastest penguins with excellent diving abilities so they can expand their areas of feeding better than the other penguin species.  Numbers are estimated between 3/4 of a million and 1.2 million, with about 520,000 in Antarctica.  Of all the penguin species, this is the smallest population.   Their status is least concern.

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Photo from Saunders Island, Falklands.  Found throughout Antarctica – Gentoo Penguins (2)

 

Magellanic – There are about 200,000 in the Falklands (and we saw a few) with a world population of 2 to 3 million, which is decreasing. Their status is near threatened. This is the species that looks similar to the “Jackass” African Penguins we see in South Africa.

large.353861750_z33M7A9370SaundersIslandFalklandsMagellanicPenguin.jpg.f667cad26bd393304787969d29f72d63.jpg

Saunders Island, Falklands – Magellanic  Penguins (3)

 

Macaroni – This is the most numerous species of penguin, at about 18 million, but that number is decreasing and its status is vulnerable.  Despite the sizeable population, Macaronis are not that easy to see because of their habitat.  We saw just one colony by zodiac in South Georgia.

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Cooper Bay, South Georgia, taken from zodiac--Macaroni Penguins (4)

 

King   Good news in the near term for the King Penguin, which is increasing and listed as least concern.  But long-term climate warming trends could decimate the population.  There are about 5 million King Penguins.  In 2018, 90% of the largest King Penguin colony was wiped out as detailed in this link.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/31/europe/king-penguin-colony-intl/index.html

 

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Photo from Salisbury Plain, South Georgia (also a small group at Saunders Bay, Falklands) – King Penguins (5)

 

Adélie Good news in the near term for the Adélie Penguin, which is increasing and listed as least concern.  But long-term climate warming trends could decimate the population between 4 and perhaps up to 9 million Adélie Penguins.

 

The Spring 2019 Audubon magazine states the Adélie Penguin population in the Ross Sea continues to grow and is up to 870,000 pairs, which Audubon notes is 1/3 of the population.  The Adélies in the Ross Sea are described as this species' “best hope for survival.”   

 

In late 2018, a colony of 1.5 million Adélie Penguins were discovered when pink guano was detected by satellite.  The colony was estimated to have existed undetected about 3,000 years.

https://www.techtimes.com/articles/236291/20181213/supercolony-of-ad%C3%A9lie-penguins-hidden-for-millennia-discovered-because-of-birds-pink-guano-visible-from-space.htm

 

An additional 17 colonies not previously detected were also added to the population, which accounts for some of the increase in numbers.

https://phys.org/news/2014-07-adelie-penguin-population.html?gclid=Cj0KCQjwz6PnBRCPARIsANOtCw3HeQ_Z13WSRYCHej9MB4s2e_m-ZGh6Pf0leM2UyCnvM5sk7UCLuvoaAok5EALw_wcB

 

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South Shetland Islands & Antarctica – Adélie Penguins (6)

 

Chinstrap There are about 7 million Chinstraps and that number is decreasing, though their status is listed as least concern. The largest concentration of Chinstraps are in the Sandwich Islands, not on this itinerary.  In 2016, a volcanic eruption on the northernmost island of the South Sandwich archipelago sadly wiped out a colony of about 1 million Chinstraps, bringing the 8 million down to 7 million.

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South Shetland Islands & Antarctica – Chinstrap Penguins (7)

 

Q10:  Environmentally, how is the Antarctic doing?

 

A10:  The PBS Newshour conveniently had a 4-part Antarctica special in April 2019 and a podcast that addressed this question and many  more. 

To summarize:  The Antarctic faces major changes from climate change. Over the last 70 years average temps in the Antarctic have increased by 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit and ice is melting 6 times faster than 40 years ago. Warmer weather means snow is heavier and when penguins are covered in heavy snow it makes it harder for them to breathe.  Also, when rain rather than snow falls, the chicks can develop pneumonia and die.  Some species of penguins, like Gentoos, seem to be adapting, whereas many others are struggling.  As for the effect of tourism on penguins, at least to this point adverse effects have not been recorded.  If more ships visit more sites, that may change.  A study on penguin excrement gathered from areas with and without tourists was examined for indications of stress.  There was no difference found in the level of stress experienced by penguins that encountered tourists and those that were in tourist-free zones, based on their droppings.  One other threat to Antarctica besides the climate is the 2048 expiration of the Antarctic Treaty System from the 1960s, signed by 12 countries including the USA.  The treaty states no military presence, no nuclear testing or dumping.  The Antarctic must remain peaceful.  Any country can conduct scientific studies, but those studies must be shared.

 

April 3  8:46    Antarctic penguins have existed for 60 million years. Can they survive climate change?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCdNGGQ-bcA

 

 

April 10  9:41  Antarctica is losing ice at an accelerating rate. How much will sea levels rise?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRe1ymYR45k

 

 

April 17, 9:25  How Antarctica's tourist boom could affect Earth's 'last great wilderness?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMGEwG3y45I 

 

April 24, 9:37  Can Antarctica remain a refuge for science and peace?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbHHK9Ka8Vo

 

 

The PBS podcast, The Last Continent, is found here:

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/podcasts/the-last-continent

 

 

And now my artistic attempt at Black and White.  I call this masterpiece Fur Seals From Here to Eternity.

37324385_z6SalisburyPlainSouthGeorgeandFromHeretoEternitybeachscene.jpg.1ebcb3f767398a6ad955edd7423422f7.jpg

 

Next is the final installment = Helpful Hints and Things I Learned,

a few final words from the penguins,

the souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive photo

 

 

 

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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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Atravelynn

Helpful Hints and Things I Learned (in no particular order)

 

 

(‘v’)  A cap with a bill, like a baseball cap, was really helpful on bright, sunny days.  I do not recall that on the packing list.  Here is Poseidon’s packing list.

https://poseidonexpeditions.com/info-for-travelers/how2pack/

 

large.1213566074_e1c3M7A9072SaundersIslandFalklandsGentooPenguins.jpg.b95cd57c69ab79634b66d71386e198a4.jpg

Saunders Island, Falklands – Gentoo Penguins

 

 

(‘v’)  Bincolulars are on the packing list.  I always bring and use binos on safaris and wildlife trips.  I brought binoculars and took them on the first shore excursion to Westpoint, Falkland Islands, but did not take them again on a shore excursion. I wore them on the ship whenever I was on deck and used them about 3 times, mostly for whales.  There was an excellent pair of binoculars in the lounge for guest use.  Not sure that I’d bring them again for ship use, though I did use them in the nature activities in Ushuaia.  If weight became an issue, I think it would be ok to leave the binoculars behind.

\large.1129709752_g5DSCN6967St.AndrewsSouthGeorgiaKingPenguins.jpg.c85f6b765820b1c122e94899ad312dc3.jpg

St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

(‘v’)  If purchasing waterproof pants, the high-end Gortex ones are needed and they must be waterproof, not just resistant.  I had good quality Gortex pants, plus some lesser quality ones and on very wet days I wore both.  Sometimes the pants, especially the bottoms, had not dried out yet from the morning outing when it was time to go out in the afternoon.  Two pairs of the waterproof pants worked well for me.  I noted the Poseidon packing list suggests no Velcro or mesh for the Gortex pants.  While ideal, that can be hard to find.  Velcro just meant more careful inspection in the bio-security sessions was needed.

 

 large.220621637_g43M7A35493M7A3866OceanHarborSouthGeorgiatussleinthetussockgrass.jpg.0620ba368f1cc74b4895ca9b13478b51.jpg

Ocean Harbor, South Georgia – Fur seal sups playing on land

 

(‘v’) Info was provided to us about where you could rent gear, such as Gortex pants in advance.  I saw people who went that option and the gear was top notch.  One lady told us the Gortex pants she wore on the trip were the first pants she had worn in 40 years.  I felt kind of honored to witness that. She had boarded the ship in a skirt and wore skirts at all time on board.  

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Saunders Island, Falklands - Gentoo

 

(‘v’) Another reason for 2 pairs of rain pants:  For the best photos of penguins and seals it is often helpful to go low, either squatting or sometimes kneeling.  Especially on the rocky surfaces, it is easy to rip a hole in the Gortex pants.  Wearing a cheaper, thinner pair of rain pants as an outside layer means that pair takes the brunt of the wear and tear on the knees.

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Aitcho Island in the South Shetland Islands near Antarctica-Gentoo Penguin chicks

 

 

(‘v’)  The temperature on the ship was surprisingly warm.  Most of the time short sleeves were adequate on the ship, and I tend to be cold.  The library was rather cold and actually offered a nice contrast.  Temperature in the room could be controlled.  I packed for a colder on-board experience than what I found.

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St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

 

(‘v’)  Some cruises offer free flights from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, or even from the originating country to Buenos Aires.  But those free flights may mean you have two different airlines involved--the free flight and the one you have to book.  When the entire international and domestic flight itinerary is not booked all at once, from your originating country, then weight limits imposed by Aerolineas Argentinas kick in, which can either cost more or cause problems with carrying on photo gear.

[Aerolineas Argentinas had limits of 33 lbs for a checked bag and 10-17 lbs, depending on whom I talked to, for the carryon limit.  You could pay for heavier checked luggage but the carryon rules did not permit additional weight.]

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Danco Island in Antarctica – Gentoo

 

(‘v) Two pairs of gloves/mittens are definitely needed and the kind I found most useful for photography are the open fingers with a mitten flap that pulls over the top.  This inexpensive pair worked well. 

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0187Q9F2W/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

 

These gloves (link below) were also good, but I really like the mitten option in the ones above

https://us.photographygloves.com/

 

Two pairs are good because often one pair was still wet after the first outing of the day and not dry in time for the second outing.  Someone on the trip told us about The Heat Company for good gloves, stating, “They are pricey but you’ll never need another pair.”

https://www.theheatcompany.com/en-us/gloves/heat-3-smart

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Cuverville Island, Antarctica Peninsula – Gentoos

 

(‘v’) A drybag and not just a water-resistant backpack is needed for camera gear.  We got splashed and deluged with waves a few times in the zodiac.  Backpacks got soaked.  Drybags, of course, kept contents dry.  Don’t bring plastic bags to protect cameras from waves or when it rains.  In fact, plastic bags are OUTLAWED on South Georgia.

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Westpoint, Falklands – Black browed Albatross

 

(‘v’) The parkas provided to us were very warm and had good protection for wrists, neck (no need for my balaclava) and head.  The Arctic Muck boots were plenty warm too.  Really good quality gear! (We could keep the parkas if we wished.)  One long sleeved heavy shirt, plus the parka, was enough to stay warm on most outings. I liked my hat with ear flaps, which I usually wore instead of using the hood.  Sunglasses were on the packing list and were useful on sunny days. 

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Cuverville Island, Antarctica Peninsula – Gentoos

 

(‘v’) One thing I wished I would have brought was a small waterproof camera for shots taken from the zodiac while we were zipping along between ship and shore or when taking off from and arriving on shore.  My good cameras were always stowed during these times to protect from waves.  When slowly cruising along the shore or iceberg viewing, I felt safe with my good camera(s) out because waves were not crashing in and there was not much spray.  But there were times when a waterproof camera would have been nice.

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Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

 

(‘v’) Boot sizes for the Arctic Muck Boots provided are whole sizes only.  No half sizes.  I wear a 9 1/2 and wore a 10.  It fit because of my 2 layers of thermal socks.  You provide your boot size in advance.

large.204551636_disenfectboots.jpg.3a8591a68cb5a968097a3dbc6dd97499.jpg

Disinfecting the boots between wearers.  I saw them do that and here is proof.

 

 

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Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

 

(‘v’) I brought Hot Hands and Foot Warmers and never used either.  I discussed this with others who also had brought but never used these warming pads.

 

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Aitcho Island of South Shetlands – Gentoo chick

 

(‘v’)  What really contributed to warm feet was the insoles I brought from home.  I replaced the Artic Muck Boots thin liner with thicker insoles, which also worked well with boots half a size bigger.  (Size 10 boots when I usually take 9.5)   Insoles were on the packing list and I’m glad I brought them.

large.416004882_g5DSCN7005St.AndrewsSouthGeorgiaKingPenguins.jpg.c0841f4e0c0ce4c2c0925c1e035fab25.jpg

St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

(‘v’) It was possible to phone (at least to the USA) for I think $29 for 20 minutes, if I recall correctly, by using a phone card easily purchased on board at reception.  There was a phone in the cabin that always connected with the US for me no matter where we were.

large.89341711_3M7A8738CuvervilleAntarcticaWHALESPOUTvisible.jpg.9740c525fc04d27a59b1f16cb6eda74a.jpg

Near Cuverville in Antarctica, taken from ship—whale spout on the left

 

 

(‘v’)  In contrast to phone service, Internet was very spotty and iffy from what I was told.  Never tried it.  My original intent was to do some work on the ship a few hours here and there, via Internet, but that would not have been successful if I had tried it.

large.1037599448_zDSCN8828HalfMoonIslandShetlandIslandsChinstrapPenguins.jpg.44b37caace100cc345dca2de57e86582.jpg

Aitcho Island of South Shetlands – Chinstrap Penguin

 

(‘v)  Laundry services were available.  Underpants for both men and women were $3/pair.  The cost to launder rain pants was about $6, an excellent deal to take advantage of before packing the smelly pants for the trip home. Just walking amongst the penguins made outerwear stinky.

For do-it-yourself washing, there was a clothesline.

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Aitcho Island of South Shetlands – Gentoo chicks

 

 

(‘v’)  For clothes and gear brought from home that you will use for land excursions, an extensive biological invasive species eradication process is required.  To expedite, before leaving home pick out any seeds that have adhered to Velcro on any garment or gear going ashore.  Dump out any lint, dirt, seeds, etc. that have accumulated in camera, tote, or dry bags.  All gear is vacuumed and inspected, sometimes with a magnifying glass. Local inspectors will likely be brought aboard. We did have passengers denied entry to the zodiacs until they did a second cleaning of their gear, which delayed their landing.  I noted the Poseidon packing list suggests no Velcro, but that is almost impossible to avoid.

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Saunders Island, Falklands – Gentoo

 

(‘v’)  It was very easy on the Sea Spirit to eat healthy, such as salads and fruit.  Fresh fruits and vegetables were available throughout the 20-day trip, which surprised us and was a topic of conversation and outright wonder. How did they do it?  No replenishment of supplies was possible after the Falklands. 

It was not seen as weird (by staff or other diners) to order a soup and a salad for dinner and nothing else.  Fresh fruit was always a dessert option at dinner.  On the other hand, ordering two desserts was also ok and some folks did that too. All lunch and dinner menus of our delicous meals are shown in this album.  They were included on a souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive that will appear at the end of the report.

http://www.safaritalk.net/gallery/album/1760-sea-spirit-menus/

 

large.1269785404_e4f3M7A9850StanleyFalklandIslandsUplandGoosecouple.jpg.8574a30fe4ba57ea7e54a2e0a3df1d96.jpg

Stanley, Falklands – Upland Goose, male is white, female is brown.  Taken during the afternoon guided walk back to the ship.

 

 

(‘v)  Lens papers worked better for wiping off the camera lens while on excursions when there was precipitation, rather than a lens cloth, which could produce a smeary result. 

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Westpoint, Falklands – Black browed Albatross

 

(‘v’)  When it is snowing, it is even more important to take many continuous shoot photos that are repetitive, because the falling snowflakes can mar some of the otherwise perfect shots.

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Saunders Island, Falklands – Gentoo Penguin and chick

 

 

(‘v’)  I did not bring a tripod or monopod.  A monopod or tripod could be useful for: (1) photos.  (2) a walking stick.  Walking sticks were provided for our use and to my surprise I used them often for slippery conditions, even though I don’t usually use a walking stick for hiking. (3) Deterring aggressive fur seals. The males could be a bit scary.  If you did not have a stick of some sorts, banging rocks together also worked. I might take a monopod another time. I saw no more than maybe 12 monopods or tripods, about half belonging to the 6 professional or nearly professional photographers on the trip.

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Aitcho Island of South Shetlands – Gentoo

 

(‘v’) The pre-departure info mentioned two gatherings where you could dress up.  I was a little worried about needing to pack special clothes for this.  Polar Cruises assured me that dressing up was optional.  I handled these two more formal affairs by wearing a penguin scarf, which proved to be a fine solution.  Below is a re-enactment of me in my penguin scarf. 

While a few people got dressed up, most just wore the nicest clothes they had packed—whatever those might be—and one guy wore a ratty t-shirt with a quip about alcohol.  Indeed, dress up was optional.

90263977_PENGUINSCARF.jpg.171ae89afff6ee0dd58c7214b2abdd36.jpg

This is the penguin scarf I wore for the dress up occasions.  Very appropriate. 

This is a re-enactment shot but I assure you I looked just like this at the Captain’s Reception in my penguin scarf.

 

(‘v’) Suggested tipping is $20 USD /day at this time.  $6 USD/day for guides and $14 USD/day for staff.  Tips, along with all ship-based expenses can be placed on a tab, paid with credit card, charged to a Florida location, at the end of the cruise.   Other than postcards and stamps, plus some inexpensive souvenirs at the research stations or Grytviken, lunch/snacks in Stanley, Falklands, no other money was needed.  US dollars were preferred.  British pounds were also fine in the Falklands.

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Cuverville Island, Antarctica Peninsula – Gentoos

 

 

(‘v’) There is no dry room or mud room for gear, so jackets hang in the room.  We improvised and hung jackets and other damp gear, on hangers from the dropped ceiling that had a ledge, as shown in the photo.

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Hanging our parkas

 

 

Triple Cabin Hints

(‘v’)  A small air freshener would have been helpful, the kind you can spray, not a plug-in.  It could be used in the bathroom and also in the cabin where 3 parkas and 3 pairs of boots, permeated by “penguin stench,” were stored.  It did get smelly.  Fortunately, my cabin mates and I all thought it was rather funny.

 

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Salisbury Plain, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

 

(‘v’)  Suitcases fit under the beds. I had a big suitcase and it fit under the bed just fine.  A suitcase also fit under the sofa bed.

large.1494970621_e4c3M7A9759StanleyFalklandIslandsUplandGoosemaleandfemale.jpg.cf7ef494925d25f4392e348155d82d0b.jpg

Stanley, Falklands – Upland Goose, male is white, female is brown.  Taken during the afternoon guided walk back to the ship.

 

(‘v’)  To hang the bath towel on the limited number of bathroom hooks, it would be helpful to have something like the clips to clip mittens onto the sleeve of a jacket, but in this case clip them onto the towel to make a loop.  We used the label as a hook when we could, but it was not always intact.  Even for a non triple-share, I think a  clip would be useful to keep the towel on the hook, so it would not fall down on top of the toilet, or worse yet in the toilet.  We made sure we kept the lid closed for that reason.

 

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Towels in bathroom of Cabin 347

 

 

large.2071073340_h20190119_213107DeceptionIslandactivevolcanonearingAntarctica.jpg.8d7923df30972c6f3f8a2ef031a518b8.jpg

Deception Island, active volcano, Antarctica

 

 

(‘v’) There were 2 hooks in the bathroom for the cotton bathrobes provided.  With 3 people and 3 bathrobes, 1 bathrobe needs to go elsewhere, as shown here.

large.bathrobes.jpg.f3ca71a3d6b31b1c2a61913e2cb3e3b2.jpg

 

 

(‘v’) Since there was not enough room in the bathroom for personal items for 3 people, this toiletry kit was useful.  It also worked well the couple of times I completed my morning routine in the bathroom near the Oceanus Lounge.

 

large.1457419181_toiletrykit.jpg.bd7ca28

In lovely oceanic turquoise with many zippered compartments!

 

(‘v’) The outlets and power strips available in the 3-share cabin were not adequate if there were everyone needed to charge devices. The extension cord I brought, that allowed just 2 extra spots for charging, provided enough spots for us all. The power strips in the cabin may offer 6 plugs, but depending on the size of the item being charged, only 2 or 3 slots may be uncovered.  There were charging stations elsewhere on the ship, but charging in your own cabin is more convenient, so I’d recommend BYO extension for more charging.

 

large.266011445_DSCN7460powerstripandplug.jpg.e812ef3b8e53b3f752ddb76152eaf7c8.jpg

This single power strip did not provide adequate recharging for 3 people.  An extension cord with 2 extra places for plugs gave us enough outlets.

 

large.1955449757_g5DSCN7039St.AndrewsSouthGeorgiaKingPenguins.jpg.0f966e9a4b03456cb85e1b4b3a57509e.jpg

St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

 

(‘v’) The bed nearest the outer wall did get cold at night once we hit the South Shetland Islands and the cold continued through Antarctica.  It was not cold in the Falklands or South Georgia, but the cold seeped through the wall from the outdoors and made that bed a cold place to sleep once we left South Georgia.

large.1032026049_DSCN5245SaundersIslandMagellanicPenguins.jpg.954cf1d388c88ee362564ab662fd1834.jpg

Saunders Island, Falklands – Magellanic Penguins

 

 

(‘v’) The sleeper couch in the room, that accompanies the two twin sized beds, always stays open to provide a double bed. (So a triple-share cabin could work well for parents with 2 kids, from a sleeping standpoint.)  It looked very comfortable and did not seem like it was a second-rate spot to sleep.  Actually, it provided more space for sleeping and laying out stuff than the twin beds.  It is closest to the ensuite bathroom (toilet, sink, shower, drinkable water) for anyone who might be up in the night a lot.  It could be curtained off from the other two beds.

large.738181857_g5DSCN7390LeavingSouthGeorgia.jpg.4fa16cc8f2ba27754733fdddf79324f8.jpg

Leaving South Georgia, taken from ship

 

 

(‘v’) A vibrating alarm, as opposed to a sound alarm/phone, is helpful so as not to disturb the cabin-mates. Worked great for morning wakeups or waking on time from midday naps without disturbing others.

large.1790953100_g5DSCN7018St.AndrewsSouthGeorgiaKingPenguins.jpg.bf3174fd8788ea98671890ffd5dc5964.jpg

St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

 

(‘v’) The triple-share cabins are on the same deck as the big Oceanus Room where all 114 people can fit for orientation, lectures, presentations, etc.  Usually the Oceanus room was empty and it certainly was empty throughout the night.  If roommates somehow proved intolerable (and fortunately mine were delightful) you could easily leave your cabin and spend time in the Oceanus Room in chairs or cushioned comfortable benches, suitable for sleeping.  There were lights, electrical outlets, big windows in the Oceanus Room, plus a toilet nearby.  Of course, the bar and library on Deck 4 offer another escape from the cabin. For anyone who was wary of a 3-share, the Oceanus Room "getaway" might allay some fears.

large.194171333_g5DSCN7049St.AndrewsSouthGeorgiaKingPenguins.jpg.612eda86e0aa7bcc3a456a20cfd09385.jpg

St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia – King Penguins

 

 

large.1446770486_e1f3M7A9104SaundersIslandFalklandsGentooPenguins.jpg.0aea57a28aaa5d6ccc7eced2cb08815c.jpg

Saunders Island, Falklands – Gentoo Penguin and chick

 

 

 large.1455057360_kk3M7A7408GonzaleazVidelaChileanResearchStationAntarcticaGentooPenguins.jpg.f8be6bb578e2d42072f57e64e6f35e17.jpg

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

 

 

 

End of Helpful Hints and Things I Learned.

 

Next is the last post with a word from the penguins

and the souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive makes an appearance.

 

Edited by Atravelynn
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janzin

This is really, really useful information and much of the clothing info applicable to an Arctic cruise as well, so thank you!

 

I am wondering if you could provide a link to the a) Gortex pants you used and b) the rental place for gear...if you meant a place in the USA. I am reluctant to buy some of this stuff which I'll never use again (although...if I ever get to Antarctica...!)

 

I'm surprise that you didn't use binoculars more. I would think they'd be mostly useful for seabirds and whales. I think I'd be out on the deck a lot with binoculars quite a bit. 

 

Waiting expectantly for the souvenir tiny replica Sea Spirit. You are quite the tease :lol:

Edited by janzin
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Atravelynn
3 hours ago, janzin said:

This is really, really useful information and much of the clothing info applicable to an Arctic cruise as well, so thank you!  You are very welcome.

 

I am wondering if you could provide a link to the a) Gortex pants you used and b)  My good Gortex pants are Patagonia brand.  STY31150, RN 41884.  Don't remember when I got them, so no link.  Might have bought them at a physical REI store a couple of years ago.  Unlike you, I use that kind of stuff every winter just at home. the rental place for gear...if you meant a place in the USA. New Headings   https://store.newheadings.com/    I am reluctant to buy some of this stuff which I'll never use again (although...if I ever get to Antarctica...!)

 

I'm surprise that you didn't use binoculars more. I would think they'd be mostly useful for seabirds and whales. I think I'd be out on the deck a lot with binoculars quite a bit.   The birds were so fast when the ship was moving that it was hard to track them with binocs.  The binos did work for whales.  I found I just zoomed with my camera.  I know some people do that on safari, but I always prefer the binos in that situation.

 

Waiting expectantly for the souvenir tiny replica Sea Spirit. You are quite the tease :lol:  I had planned to finish the report in the above post but twice I lost a lot of what I had inputted and ran out of time to complete the report.  The wrap will occur hopefully this eve.

 

Edited by Atravelynn
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offshorebirder

Extremely useful trip report @Atravelynn.    You are to be commended for such thoughtful advice.

 

 

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Atravelynn

 

Thanks @offshorebirder.  Just following through on the subtitle of

"What would have been helpful for me to know when I was contemplating and planning a trip like this."

 

Antarctica is something to shout, squawk, gak, quack, and bray about and that’s what these birds are doing.

large.1607081259_z3DSCN6242d3M7A9768StanleyFalklandIslandsFalklandSteamerduckfemale(endemic).jpg.0e8229a94183d3c10532c401f419c7f6.jpg

Stanley, Falklands – Falkland Steamer Duck (endemic)

 

large.296985610_e1x3M7A9353SaundersIslandFalklandGentooPenguins.jpg.44646f64b8a8db305fe8fb025e91dc90.jpg

Saunders Island, Falklands – Gentoos

 

large.474784014_DSCN5309SaundersIslandFalklandsGentooPenguins.jpg.2f36a7f45a9a21f1181b0e465ad22bc2.jpg

Saunders Island, Falklands – Gentoos

 

large.619781065_z3DSCN5997PrionIslandSouthGeorgiaWanderingAlbatross.jpg.ac4360668d1ef165e2cef5faf2cb5202.jpg

Prion Island, South Georgia -- Wandering Albatross

 

large.1113677075_z3DSCN6242z93M7A7171DancoIslandAntarcticaGentooPenguin.jpg.d78583dd786bf9f625a2e3200588b1be.jpg

Danco Island, Antarctica -- Gentoo

 

large.1124018119_z33M7A9673HalfMoonIslandShetlandIslandsChinstrapPenguins.jpg.bee92bb843b9a8cea5027b6b4c27d654.jpg

Half Moon Island in South Shetland Islands, Antarctica -- Chinstrap

 

large.1747049933_z3DSCN6242z3DSCN8406CuvervilleAntarcticaGentooPenguins.jpg.15e2a8fb0585e9f15a4abfa973eeba9d.jpg

Cuverville, Antarctica -- Gentoos

 

 

Don’t forget the offer you can’t refuse of the penguin socks if you go!

large.193894187_GroupShotmysocks.jpg.4d318bd78731e2701fc5ffaaa6b7e5a9.jpg

Even in a crowd, you’ll stand out in the penguin socks!  Passengers, crew, staff of the Sea Spirit-one of the many photos

provided for us on the souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive.

 

 

1362831922_seaspiritflashdrive.jpg.b3e34e3e22e0a807c441f9aa1c9a1b6c.jpg

 

The End

 

Edited by Atravelynn
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janzin

OMG love the the souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive.  Worth the wait :)And the many thousands of dollars. Ha, just kidding but its really cute!  Anyway thanks for the fantastic, informative report. And great photos. You've got me looking at trips now...!

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Atravelynn
3 hours ago, janzin said:

OMG love the the souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive.  Worth the wait :)And the many thousands of dollars. Ha, just kidding but its really cute!  Anyway thanks for the fantastic, informative report. And great photos. You've got me looking at trips now...!

The most expensive flash drive I own!

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Antee

Thanx alot for a great, inspiring and interesting report!

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TonyQ

A fantastic report, lots of really helpful practical details that give a real flavour of the experience of the trip.

Your photos are beautiful- stunning landscapes and superb wildlife. The variety of penguins is amazing.

Thank you 

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johnweir

What a fantastic trip report, the amount of detail is incredible. Your images are wonderful as well. I have thoroughly enjoyed every episode and it has greatly enhanced my understanding and knowledge of a wildlife destination I know very little about. Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts on what clearly was a very special trip.

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Atravelynn
On 6/21/2019 at 4:17 AM, Antee said:

Thanx alot for a great, inspiring and interesting report!

It was fun to do it and head back out to sea for this "Southern Ocean Adventure" as @Treepol called it.

20 hours ago, TonyQ said:

A fantastic report, lots of really helpful practical details that give a real flavour of the experience of the trip.

Your photos are beautiful- stunning landscapes and superb wildlife. The variety of penguins is amazing.  7 count 'em 7 different penguins!

Thank you   You are welcome!

 

18 hours ago, johnweir said:

What a fantastic trip report, the amount of detail is incredible. Your images are wonderful as well. I have thoroughly enjoyed every episode and it has greatly enhanced my understanding and knowledge of a wildlife destination I know very little about. I learned a whole lot too!   Seems a shame not to put this knowledge to use again. Maybe I'll have to look into another triple share cruise--booked through Polar Cruises on Sea Spirit again of course.   Maybe a Triple Share of Safaritalkers is on the horizon some day! Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts on what clearly was a very special trip.  And thanks for reading.  It was a MOST special trip and such a privilege to visit these remote, beautiful areas (in comfort).

 

Edited by Atravelynn
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Zubbie15

I’m extremely behind on this report, only starting page two - mostly because I want to be able to take time to absorb all the info. Antarctica is high on my bucket list, probably won’t be for 10+ years but this report is going to be super useful in planning.  Thanks for sharing.

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kitefarrago

Antarctica is definitely on my list of places to list, and every time I look it seems to have become more expensive. I very much appreciate the thoughtfulness of this report, in particular regarding the choice of ship/tour operator and time of year, and the meticulous detail recording the various landings and the amount of time available at each.

 

Andrea

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Atravelynn
19 hours ago, Zubbie15 said:

I’m extremely behind on this report, only starting page two - mostly because I want to be able to take time to absorb all the info. Antarctica is high on my bucket list, probably won’t be for 10+ years but this report is going to be super useful in planning.  Thanks for sharing.

10 years is a good amount of time for saving up!  Of course the cost will increase over those 10 years as well, but hopefully at a slower pace than  your Antarctica fund.

1 hour ago, kitefarrago said:

Antarctica is definitely on my list of places to list, and every time I look it seems to have become more expensive.  As more people want to go, that can also push up the price with more demand.  But there also are more ships vying for the limited time landing spots.  The staff was talking about how it used to be less of a rush to get on the calendar.  Now they wait by the phone or computer for the moment they can schedule so they can get their dates.  For JUST Antarctica there are options under $6K USD.  I very much appreciate the thoughtfulness of this report, in particular regarding the choice of ship/tour operator and time of year, and the meticulous detail recording the various landings and the amount of time available at each.  You're welcome.

 

Andrea

Last night for about 30 minutes of panic I thought I had lost the souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive.  Fortunately I found it, all 2.5 GB intact.

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xelas
On 6/20/2019 at 7:27 PM, Atravelynn said:

Suggested tipping is $20 USD /day at this time.  $6 USD/day for guides and $14 USD/day for staff.  Tips, along with all ship-based expenses can be placed on a tab, paid with credit card, charged to a Florida location, at the end of the cruise. 

 

Wouldn't it be easier to just include those $20 USD per day in the cost of the trip?! If paid by credit card to the tour company account, it does not have the real tipping "feeling".

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xelas

The trip report, in standard @Atravelynn way of giving us plenty of useful details with fantastic photos, is one more gem on Safaritalk. While personally I will not dream about Antarctica, it was a joy to read through all your stops and penguins (those on socks included :)). Thank You for the effort!

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Atravelynn
40 minutes ago, xelas said:

 

Wouldn't it be easier to just include those $20 USD per day in the cost of the trip?! If paid by credit card to the tour company account, it does not have the real tipping "feeling".

I think some people gave more.  Others tipped the suggested amount and then gave an extra tip to certain staff members.  I know at least one person who did not believe in tipping and did not tip at all.  So the suggestion made the tipping optional.

36 minutes ago, xelas said:

The trip report, in standard @Atravelynn way of giving us plenty of useful details with fantastic photos, is one more gem on Safaritalk. While personally I will not dream about Antarctica, it was a joy to read through all your stops and penguins (those on socks included :)). Thank You for the effort!  I'll only send a pair of penguin socks to Antarctic travelers.  So, sorry the offer will not extend to you.  Sweet dreams of Africa to you!

 

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xelas
9 hours ago, Atravelynn said:

I know at least one person who did not believe in tipping and did not tip at all.  So the suggestion made the tipping optional.

 

Wow, I am not alone then :huh: ...

 

About the penguins, my ladies bought me a nice shorts with them all over ... but they would probably not work all that well as the conversation "ice breakers" :rolleyes:

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ForWildlife

Finally! The Souvenir tiny seplica of Sea Spirit flash drive!

What a wealth of information you presented in this trip report, and what a number of fantastic photos! Loved it!

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Atravelynn
6 hours ago, xelas said:

 

Wow, I am not alone then :huh: ...

 

About the penguins, my ladies bought me a nice shorts with them all over ... but they would probably not work all that well as the conversation "ice breakers" :rolleyes:

Or they might be the talk of the town/ship/safari camp!

1 hour ago, ForWildlife said:

Finally! The Souvenir tiny seplica of Sea Spirit flash drive!  And then I nearly misplaced it after taking that picture of it and forgetting where I put it afterward.

What a wealth of information you presented in this trip report, and what a number of fantastic photos! Loved it!  Thanks

 

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michael-ibk

Lynn, it was not nice of you to deliver such a fantastic report. I've always put off Antarctica/S. Georgia/Falklands as too expensive but now I see that I simply have to do this. So you're to blame for my impending bankruptcy. Really, really beautiful, and photowise your very best one. Thank you very much for all the effort you put into this, it's really an "Everything you need to know about an Antarctica trip" encyclopedia. 

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SafariChick

Echoing others and agreeing that is was every bit what I've come to expect from an @Atravelynn trip report, and then some! Fabulous photos and details and the souvenir tiny replica of the Sea Spirit flash drive did NOT disappoint - it's adorable! Thank you for all!

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Atravelynn
On 6/24/2019 at 12:30 PM, michael-ibk said:

Lynn, it was not nice of you to deliver such a fantastic report. I've always put off Antarctica/S. Georgia/Falklands as too expensive but now I see that I simply have to do this. So you're to blame for my impending bankruptcy. Really, really beautiful, and photowise your very best one. Thank you very much for all the effort you put into this, it's really an "Everything you need to know about an Antarctica trip" encyclopedia. 

Antarctica is ready and waiting whenever you feel like filing bankruptcy and gaining a souvenir tiny replica of Sea Spirit flash drive.  I'll gladly take credit for both.

20 hours ago, SafariChick said:

Echoing others and agreeing that is was every bit what I've come to expect from an @Atravelynn trip report, and then some! Fabulous photos and details and the souvenir tiny replica of the Sea Spirit flash drive did NOT disappoint - it's adorable! Thank you for all!  You are welcome and I am glad you found the final photo to your liking!

 

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What an amazing trip, and as always great TR with lots of good photos, details and things we all wanted to know about (and answers to some questions I would not even think to ask). Antarctica is on "the list" but not sure at this point if we will ever get there. The cost alone is a big deterrent.

Any idea, how would the cost change for 2? Would it just double?

Did you feel 21 days was too long? Were you at any point bored, or just "eh, another penguin"?

When on the ship, how do you get into a zodiac, do you get wet? Is it difficult, do you need to be in good shape?

Thank you so much for all this, I think I want to go back and read from the beginning again. Slower :)

 

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