Wednesday, 10 November 2010

day-1 to South Georgia

We spent our second day at sea from the Falklands to South Georgia enjoying the better weather outside, and sea-watching. A moderate breeze kept the sea running a little, but it was a treat to be out on decks in dry conditions. Our day was regularly punctuated with interesting lectures on many topics associated with South Georgia and beyond. At one point in the early afternoon we passed by the Shag Rocks, which is part of the territory of South Georgia. A few Blue-eyed Shags that breed on the rocks came out to greet us. The rocks are fragments of the ancient land-bridge between Tierra del Fuego and the Antarctic Peninsula.

An important part of the day was to hear the IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators) briefings which taught us the rules and regulations and how to behave when we visit Antarctica, including South Georgia. These briefings are mandatory, which means a person cannot land in Antarctica without hearing them.

But back to our seawatching, which was spectacular! Although no whales were seen, we saw several groups of sea lions or fur seals "porpoising" past the ship. From the very start of the day we had Wandering Albatross around the vessel as well as Light-mantled Sooty Albatross, Black-browed and Grey-headed Albatross, Giant Petrels, 1000s of prions- probably Antarctic Prions- Black-bellied Storm-Petrels, and the list goes on. A real highlight was seeing our first true denizen of the Antarctic in the form of the Snow Petrel. The all-white petrels breed on cliffs and nunataks in South Georgia and Antarctica, but venture far out to sea to feed.

Tomorrow we arrive at South Georgia and eagerly wait for our landings there!