Tag: Photo Workshop

Argentina – Aurora Expeditions – Day 19

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At about 7:30 this morning the Polar Pioneer returned to it’s starting location at Ushuaia, Argentina, sadly the great Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Antarctica voyage is over.

Ushuaia Argentina

Returning to Ushuaia

When I had first starting thinking about going on this cruise I had been a little worried that 19 days at sea on a ship as small at the Polar Pioneer would be a be too long. But I’m amazed at how quickly time on the cruise passed. There was so many amazing thing to see and do on the landing that it was sometimes overwhelming. And even the days at sea were nice because it gave time to get to know the other passengers and to go through the massive amounts of photos and videos I was taking.

Thanks to the Aurora Expeditions staff, the Russian crew, LuminOdyssey and to the rest of the passengers, it was great to meet everyone.

At Sea – Aurora Expeditions – Day 18


Aurora Expeditions, the travel company that organized and managed this voyage is Australian, so most of the passengers and many of the things on the ship were Australian. One famous (or possibly infamous) Australian food that made the voyage with us was Vegemite, which is yeast extract produced as a by-product of beer manufacturing. Vegemite is most commonly used as a spread on toast or crackers.

I’ve tried quite a few strange foods in other countries so I thought I should give the Vegemite a try. I scooped out a decent sized glob of the thing dark brown Vegemite and was getting ready to spread it on my toast when all the Australians at my table all started warning me that it was way too much and that all I needed was the thinnest of coating of Vegemite. I heeded the warning and gave my toast just the barest of coatings. The Vegemite had a strong, funky smell when you get close to it, so I was a bit nervous about taking a bite out of my toast. The first couple bites were not too bad, but then again, I could barely taste that Vegemite. The paper thin coating just wasn’t going to do if I wanted the full Vegemite experience. So I spread a bit more Vegemite on my toast. Now I could really taste it. It has a strange, salty, unpleasant taste that wasn’t doing anything for me. It wasn’t spit it out of my mouth horrible, and I finished my slice of toast, but it also wasn’t something I really enjoyed. Maybe as some point, I will give it a second chance.


Vegemite and Toast

In the evening there was a final recap and drinks in the bar where people told stories of some of the things that had impressed them on the voyage. Gag awards were also given out by the Aurora Expeditions staff and the Captain. I received the “Alien Antennae Award: Best Reception”. People who’ve been skiing or in cold weather with me will know why I received it, everyone else will just have to wonder.

At Sea – Aurora Expeditions – Day 17

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We’re crossing the Drake Passage on our way back to Argentina and today was probably the roughest seas we’ve had on this voyage, but compared to how rough the Drake Passage can be, I guess it’s not too bad.

View from the bridge of the Polar Pioneer. From here you can really see how much the Polar Pioneer is rocking back and forth.

Antarctica – Aurora Expeditions – Day 16

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Today started in Paradise Bay with a shore landing at Almirante Brown Antarctic Base, an currently unoccupied Argentine research base. While on shore some of us hiked up the hill behind the base for a better look around. We then did a Zodiac cruise around the area.

Antarctica, Research Base

Unoccupied Argentina Research Base

Gentoo Penguins, Antarctica

Gentoo Penguins

Gentoo Penguins, Antarctica

Gentoo Penguin

Aatarctica, Hike

Hiking up to the top of the hill behind the base.

Skua, Antarctica


Antarctica, Zodiac, Iceberg

One of the Zodiacs passing by an iceberg.


Part of the Argentine research base.

Then it was back on board the Polar Pioneer for lunch and to head to our final location of the trip.

Time Lapse of the Polar Pioneer sailing through the pack ice

Our final stop was for a Zodic cruise around Melchior Islands.


Snow and Ice

Antarctica, Chinstrap Penguins

Chinstrap Penguins with the Polar Pioneer in the background.

Antarctica, Iceberg


Antarctica – Aurora Expeditions – Day 15

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Because the Polar Pioneer was so far south, it meant that sunrise was at 3:30 in the morning. I wasn’t able to get up for the sunrise, but I was on deck by 4:30 to shoot the Antarctic landscapes as our ship moved past.



Our first stop for the day was at Curerville Island. The plan was to do a short Zodiac cruise around some of the icebergs in the area and then do a landing at a Gentoo Penguin colony. The short Zodiac cruise was so interesting that it turned into a much longer cruise as Dave weaved our Zodiac through the icebergs. Then after the Zodiac ride we stopped for a couple of hours at the Gentoo Penguin colony.

Antarctica, Icebergs


Antarctica, Black Ice

Black Ice

Antarctica, Crabeater Seal

Crabeater Seal

Antarctica, Gentoo Penguin

Gentoo Penguin

The second stop for the day was Port Lockroy, a former British Antarctic research base that has been turned into a historical site and museum. Port Lockroy also has several Gentoo Penguin colonies in the area.

Port Lockroy, Antartica, Gentoo Penguins

Port Lockroy

Gentoo Penguin, Antarctica

Two Gentoos work on their sencronized wadling

Antarctica, Gentoo Penguin Colony

Gentoo Penguin Colony

Earlier in the voyage on South Georgia, several of the Aurora staff had freed a fur seal from at piece of netting that had been tangled around it’s neck. It took four guys, a boat paddle and a knife to get the job done. At Port Lockroy I got to do my part to free a tangled animal and risked life and limb to rescue a penguin who had tangled himself in some string. Ok, it might not have be as dangerous as helping the fur seal, but I could have been poked with his beak or given a vicious head slap from his stumpy little wings.

Gentoo Penguin, Antarctica

Little Gentoo is into bondage?

When I had told my friends that I was going to Antarctica, the first thing everyone wanted to know was if I was going there to ski. But no, I was going for the photography. When we were at Port Lockroy I looked up at the side of one of the mountains lining the bay and saw several people skiing down the mountain. Crap, I wish I had brought my skis.

Antarctica, Skiing, Skier

Skiers in Antarctica

After leaving Port Lockroy the Polar Pioneer headed for our final location of the day by sailing down the Lemaire Channel. As our ship sailed toward the end of the channel we could see that the way looked blocked by a large area of pack ice and I thought that the ship might have to turn around. But the Polar Pioneer with it’s ice strengthened hull was able to plow right through.

Or final location for the day, a Zodiac cruise around some massive icebergs at Pleneau Island.

Antarctica, Polar Pioneer

The Polar Pioneer looks tiny in the Antarctic landscape.

Antarctica, Zodiac, Iceberg

One of the other Zodiacs seen through a hole in an iceberg.

The day ended with a barbecue and party on the rear deck of the ship. Because of the long Antarctic day, it was still somewhat light outside at midnight with I headed in to go to bed. This turned out to be my busiest day for taking photos with 2136, which really was not that many compared to a couple of the other photographers.

Antarctica – Aurora Expeditions – Day 14

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After lunch the Polar Pioneer finally reaches our first stop in Antarctica, Deception Island. The island is circular, about 7.5 miles across and formed from a volcano caldera where a section of the caldera edge is below the ocean surface allowing ships to carefully sail through the narrow opening called Neptune’s Bellows and into the actual caldera. The caldera forms a large bay that provides shelter from the worst of the antarctic weather. In the past, the Island was home to whaling stations and research bases.

When we arrived at deception Island the weather was pretty nasty; strong wind, fog and wet blowing snow. But after over three days on the ship most people were ready to brave the elements and go ashore. We landed on a desolate black sand beach in Whalers Bay where the remains of an abandoned whaling station and research base were located. The base had been partially destroyed and buried by a mudflow in 1969. Once ashore, the weather was not super cold, but the sticky, wet blowing snow made things tough. The harsh weather along with the abandoned buildings, half buried rusting machinery and lack of vegetation gave everything an eerie post-apocalyptic feel.

Gentoo Penguin, Deception Island, Antarctica

Gentoo Penguin in the blowing snow.

Abandoned Buildings, Deception Island, Antarctica

Abandoned Buildings

Rusting Machinery, Deception Island, Antarctica

Rusting Machinery

Abandoned Building, Deception Island, Antarctica

Abandoned Building

Abandoned Airplane Hanger

Abandoned Airplane Hanger, Deception Island, Antarctica

Gerntoo Penguin

You can see in the photo that the snow was blowing almost horizontally

At Sea – Aurora Expeditions – Day 13

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The third day at sea after leaving South Georgia. I’m still trying to sort out the thousands of photos I have taken so far on this trip, but I did spend some time on deck shooting some photos of the sea birds.

Cape Petrel

Cape Petrels

Cape Petrel

Cape Petrel

During dinner, after almost three days at sea and 779 miles we pass Elephant Island, our first sighting of Antarctica. Just a barren, rugged rock and ice.

Southern Giant-Petrel passes in front of Elephant Island

Southern Giant-Petrel flying in front of Elephant Island

At Sea – Aurora Expeditions – Day 12

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The food on the Polar Pioneer maybe is not 5 star restaurant quality, but it has been good, with a nice variety from day to day. I have the feeling that I’m going to gain weight this trip.

Polar Pioneer, Food

There was a lot to pick from for breakfast. Usually there were eggs, bacon or sausages, toast, oatmeal

Polar Pioneer, Food

Cereal, yogurt, toast and juices.

Polar Pioneer, Food, Meals

Lunch could be soup, sandwiches or something along those lines. This is a Traditional Russian Borsh from the day we were served all Russian food. It was really good.

Polar Pioneer, Food, Meals

Dinner was a main dish and a couple of sides.

Polar Pioneer, Food, Meals

Green-beans as one of the side items.

Polar Pioneer, Food, Meals


Polar Pioneer, Food, Meals

And most importantly, dinner always was followed by dedsert.

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