Saturday, 6 November 2010

Falkland Islands, here we come!

This our last day at sea before we arrive at the incredible Falkland Islands, was spent soaking up more detailed information from our expedition staff on a variety of subjects relevant to our expedition. The weather improved today, with no rain and some sun. This brought out many to enjoy the fresh, clean air of the South Atlantic and to observe the wildlife passing by. The remarkably calm conditions continued for a fourth day with the sea looking more like an inland lake!

The calm conditions meant that the tubenosed seabirds, which need the wind to fly efficiently, were flying low to the water, flapping, or sitting on the sea. Nevertheless, we did well again with a variety of species observed including, Wandering, Black-browed, and Grey-headed Albatross, Wilson's and Black-bellied Storm-Petrels, prions, White-chinned Petrels, and of course the ubiquitous Giant Petrels. It was great to see more and more of our passengers up on deck 7 successfully making images of these fast-flying birds.

The calm water provided many great opportunities to capture seabirds in flight with their wild-looking reflections below them. Here, three Giant Petrels play follow-the-leader behind the Fram.

In the afternoon we sailed by a southern ocean long-liner fishing probably for Patagonian Toothfish. Thousands of albatrosses, Giant Petrels, prions, and storm-petrels milled around the ship attempting to capture the bait on the hooks of the longline. Hundreds of thousands of seabirds die every year as a result of being captured accidentally on longline hooks.

Later in the day we learned about all the details of our trip and the upcoming landings in the Falkland Islands. Tomorrow will be a very early start with our West Point Island landing starting at 0700h followed by a landing at New Island in the afternoon. It will be a long day but our effort will be worth it! We can't wait to tell you about it tomorrow!