Tag: Ship

At Sea – Aurora Expeditions – Day 5

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Today and tomorrow are at sea as the Polar Pioneer heads for South Georgia Island. So far the seas have been fairly calm and I think most people are getting used to the rocking and rolling of the ship.

The view from the bridge of the Polar Pioneer.

Many of the photographers spend time out on the deck trying to shoot the sea birds. Getting good photos of the birds in flight can be tough under normal conditions, having the ship rocking and rolling under you adds another level of difficulty.

Black-Browed Albatross

Black-Browed Albatross

Southern Giant-Petrel

Southern Giant-Petrel

Falkland Islands – Aurora Expeditions – Day 4

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The ship spent the night heading for Standley, the main town and capitol of the Falkland Islands. Once the ship arrived at Standley we were able to spend the morning wandering around town taking photos before heading back to the ship for lunch and to start our journey for our next location, South Georgia Island.

Falkland Islands, Standley, Panorama

Panorama of Standley, Falkland Islands

Flower, Dew

Panorama, Church, Falkland Islands, Christ Church Cathedral

Vertical Panorama of Christ Church Cathedral

Falkland Islands, Standley, Shipwreck


Falkland Islands – Aurora Expeditions – Day 3

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This morning we arrived at the Falkland Islands. The plan for the day was to go ashore on two of the smaller, mostly uninhabited islands that make up part of the 740 islands of the Falklands. Our first stop was Sea Lion Island. When the ship first arrived and dropped anchor we saw four Orca Whales off in the distance. Unfortunately for us, the surf was too high to safely land our Zodiacs on Sea Lion Island, so it was decided that we would move on to the second island were were going to visit.

Bleaker Island had a cove that provided shelter from the larger ocean waves and made taking the Zodiacs ashore fairly easy. Making it even easier was that there was a small sheep farm on the island and we were able to land the Zodiacs at the small pier for the farm.

Once on Bleaker Island we were able to wander around and explore. The first interesting thing I found was a large colonies of King Cormorains.

Bleaker Island, Falkland Islands, Bird, King Cormorant

A Skua looking for tasty King Cormorant eggs

Bleaker Island, Falkland Islands, Bird, King Cormorant

King Cormorant

Then I spend some time taking photos and videos of the funny little Rockhopper Penguins that make their nests on the cliffs overlooking the ocean. I got to see the food chain in action when a sea lion attacked and ate one of the Rockhoppers in the surf below the cliff I was on. Unfortunately my photos of the attack were not very good.

Bleaker Island, Falkland Islands, Bird, Rockhopper Penguins

Rockhopper Penguins

Who would have thought that sweet sweet penguin love would be so violent.

After the Rockhoppers I was wandering around when I noticed that I was being watching from a small hole in the ground. On looking a little closer I realized it was the strange Magellanic Penguin that builds tunnels in the ground to nest in. I’ve always thought of penguins in the snow and ice, so it’s a bit strange seeing penguins digging holes in the grass like a rabbit.

Bleaker Island, Falkland Islands, Bird, Magellanic Penguin

Magellanic Penguin

At Sea – Aurora Expeditions – Day 2

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Today was our first full day at sea. We’re heading to the Falkland Islands, but it’s going to be tomorrow morning before we get there, so today it’s just ocean for as far as we can see. Today was mostly spend getting used to life on the ship and the motion of the ocean. The seas are pretty calm, but we still feel the movement of the ship, It’s probably rocking side to side a couple of degrees several times every minute. I’ve been taking seasickness pills and they must be working because I’m feeling pretty good except maybe a little drowsy. But a couple of people haven’t been doing so well and there’s been a few cases of spontaneous stomach purges.

Polar Pioneer, Ship

Barf bags lined the hallways, ready for use at a moments notice.

Since it’s a small ship, options for things to do are a little limited. People spent time relaxing and getting to know each other. The photographers spent time sorting through their photos or taking new photos of the sea birds that can be seen flying by our ship to check us out.

Polar Pioneer, Ship

Some of the photographers took over the bar to go through their photos.

For a while there was even a small group of dolphins playing in the bow wake of the ship that some people were able to get photos of. Also, the Aurora Expeditions staff has short lectures scheduled throughout the trip to talk about the history and wildlife of the place that we’ll be visiting.

Dolphin, Polar Pioneer

Dolphins playing in the bow wake.

Argentina – Aurora Expeditions – Day 1

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I’m on a 19 day cruise put on by Aurora Expeditions to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island and the Antarctic Peninciala before returning to Argentina. When most people think of a 19 day cruise I think that they picture one of the giant luxury cruise ships. But the ship I’m on is a fairly small Russian research ship named the Polar Pioneer that has been converted to carry passengers instead of researchers. The ship holds 54 passengers and in addition to the group of photographers I’m with there’s a group of Russian scuba-divers and a group of sea-kayakers, plus a few people who are not part of any of any specific group. Aurora Expeditions is an Australian travel company that specializes in adventure cruises to remote parts of the world, so that means that the majority of the passengers are Australian, there’s a few other Americans and 1 Canadian.

Polar Pioneer, Ship

No, the big ship on the left is not the ship I'm on. If you look closesly, you'll see the Polar Pioneer on the right.

I’m doing this cruise as part of a nature photography workshop but on by LuminOdyssey that I first heard about while on the Hokkaido Nature Photography workshop last winter. Hopefully on this cruise I’ll be working to improve my photography while getting to photograph amazing Subantarctic and Antarctic landscapes and wildlife.

I thought it would be interesting to do a blog posting each day of the cruise to write about what we did that day and to post a few of my photos. But since there’s no internet on the ship, I’m going to write everything on my laptop and do a mass posting once I return to civilization.

Polar Pioneer seen from a helicopter

Some of the photographers went up in helicopters the day before. Here's a shot I took of the Polar Pioneer as we flew over.

Today we boarded the ship in the late afternoon and the ship set sail around 7:30 in the evening from Ushauia, Argentina. The time was mostly spent getting familiar with the ship and also doing a lifeboat drill, which I hope we’ll never have to do for real.

Polar Pioneer, Lifeboat

The lifeboat drill.