Friday, 21 January 2011

End of cruise catch up I

Now back in the Falklands, all packed up and ready to leave the ship. Rather wet outside so starting to catch up on photo processing. Some photos from the last week and a bit (some from South Georgia and Falklands still to do)

Pushing in to a bit of a sea.

White-chinned Petrel

Black-browed Albatross landing:





 Landing Gear


Try to look a bit more graceful

 Say hello

Have a quick preen

Sit waiting for something to happen, which as we're not a fishing boat is a bit of a waste of time, but never mind. These were some of about 60 Black-browed Albatrosses we had around the ship at the time, together with about 100 Giant petrels, 2-300 White-chinned and a few Wandering Albatrosses

 Wanderers are big
 Really, very big (the bird in the foreground is the size of a large gull)

 Then had a good time with albatrosses riding the updraft of the ship again



 Light-mantled Sooty

Then noticed some rapid movement in the water: Hourglass Dolphins

Monday, 10 January 2011

Light-mantled Sooties

We are staying mostly on the South Georgia shelf to get some shelter from the wind and swell, and this is where most of the krill are that we want to catch for various experiments. We occasionally get fairly close.

Yesterday we had a sunny day with a southerly wind. This is perfect for photography as the birds that come to play in the updraft on the windward side of the ship are well lit. To complete the photo opportunity three Light-mantled Sooty Albatross came to join in with the Giant Petrels. At times they came past within a few metres, clearly wondering what the five people were pointing at them (see sixth photo).

Light-mantled Sooty Albatross

And a rather uglier Northern Giant Petrel

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Engineers earning their money

Two recent ship problems have caused a bit of concern and delay, but both now seemingly fixed. First was the loss of the stabilisers after a power cut, but after a few hours of rolling around the guys downstairs got things up and going again (after a point where it looked as though they couldn't). There's nothing like being briefly without something to make you appreciate having it again.

The second issue has been something to do with the prop shaft which meant we were without propulsion for a bit while they fixed it. Drifting beam on to the weather is a disconcerting experience but there wasn't much wind or swell (we are quite close to South Georgia so if there was bad weather we could have got in to a fjord and anchored up).

Lots of Humpback Whales the last couple of days but none have come close enough to get decent photos. Some birds have though:

 Northern Giant Petrel
 Subantarctic Skua

 Wandering Albatrosses enjoying the updraft off the ship and drifting past the monkey island (deck above the bridge)
 Stromness whaling station
Perhaps surprisingly for a big lump of rock in the middle of the sea South Georgia isn't volcanic but actually made up of sedimentary and metamorphic rocks

 Fur Seals and Reindeer. In the late 70s there were hardly any (about 3) Fur Seals here but now they are all over the place. Good that a species has recovered and they are great to watch in the water but they are a real pain when ashore as they keep chasing after you (we didn't actually get ashore here, but they can cause a lot of problems for base relief. The Reindeer were introduced by whalers to provide fresh meat.

Wanderers and South Georgia