Voyage 7103

Ushuaia to Ushuaia

 

 

Day 1 - January 25, 2011 -  Ushuaia, Argentina 

 

Up front a small group took pictures of the mountains and islands ahead, while the Observation Deck aft had a group of some 30 fellow travelers enjoying a drink, contemplating the view of Ushuaia disappearing under a cloud of rain.

 


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Day 2 - January 26, 2011 -  En route to Westpoint Island, Falkland Islands 

 

Petrels flitted over the gently rolling waves, dappling the surface where they stooped to pluck a morsel from the sea.

 


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Day 3 - January 27, 2011 -  West Point Island & Saunders Island (Falklands) 

 

The reward was a mixed colony of Imperial Cormorants and Rockhopper Penguins, not to mention the view down the length of the beach. 

 


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Day 4 - January 28, 2011 -  Stanley, South Georgia 

 

The Gentoo chicks were nearly fully grown and many were in the initial stages of getting their adult plumage.

 


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Day 5 - January 29, 2011 -  At Sea on the way to South Georgia 

 

I was just preparing a recap about some species of whales we are likely going to see when Expedition Leader Robin called from the Bridge and told me that the Captain had spotted fin whales.

 


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Day 6 - January 30, 2011 -  At sea en route to South Georgia 

 

It was extraordinary, not only because of the quality of the sightings, and the number of breaches, but also because these are whales that we rarely see on these cruises.

 


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Day 7 - January 31, 2011 -  Salisbury plain and Fortuna Bay 

 

As we were at our secondary landing site, we had quite a hike through the tussock grasses, over rivers and along the beach, before we came across the King Penguin colony of approximately 200,000 Penguins.

 


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Day 8 - February 1, 2011 -  Stromness and Cumberland Bay West, South Georgia 

 

60 (sixty!) guests had signed up for the Shackleton Hike. It was cloudy and wet, but the trail from Fortuna Bay to Stromness was known and GPS-dates backed the hikers.

 


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Day 9 - July 13, 2010 -  Grytviken, South Georgia

 Fur seals pups played hide and seek in the tussock grass while in the muddy wallows, steaming groups of female elephant seals snuggled together as they shed their old fur.


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Day 10 - February 3, 2011 - At Sea

A constant stream of Antarctic Prions passed just above the water, the beautiful Cape Petrels soared in the ship’s wake, and several Wandering Albatrosses effortlessly kept up with the Prince Albert ll.

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Day 11 - February 4, 2011 - At Sea on the way to Elephant Island

The second most important study on South Georgia refers to the investigations of Higher Predators like the fur seals. The reason for that is that the ecosystem is not yet fully understood and there is not sufficient knowledge to create a computer model of the system.


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Day 12 - February 5, 2011 - Point Wild, Elephant Island

On one large iceberg, we floated for about 20 minutes watching a small group of about 50 penguins getting on and off the iceberg.


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Day 13 - February 6, 2011 - Brown Bluff, Antarctic Sound

They would jump up, hit the ice, precariously try to climb up and almost invariably slide back down into the water. Hilarious indeed.


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Day 14 - February 7, 2011 -  Grytviken, South Georgia

 

The gentoo penguins of Cuverville Island are in a desperate race for survival.

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Day 15 - February 8, 2011 - Whaler’s Bay, Deception Island

The other hike was up to Neptune’s Window, which takes one to a section of the caldera where the edge is lower than the surrounding walls and when we walk up to the top we have a good look into the caldera and on a clear day, if one looks outward, you can see the Antarctic continent.


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Day 16 - February 9, 2011 - At Sea

I was up early to see what the Drake Passage had in store for us today. The swell was moderate enough that I headed out on deck to scan for seabirds.

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Day 17 - February 10, 2011 - En route to Ushuaia, Argentina

Fortunately we had made good speed during the early part of the crossing of the Drake Passage and came into the shelter of Chile’s southernmost islands around Cape Horn around 7:30 a.m.

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