Monday, February 11, 2013

What does one see 'at sea'?


Each morning I sit here with my eye-opener coffee watching my little garden birds (I like to think they're mine!), hopping and twittering on the front porch. Busy checking the wicker chairs for an insect breakfast, swinging from the now brown hanging baskets of ferns - ugly but left up because the wrens find a warm bed in them at night - just doing what birds do on a cool Winter morning as the sun comes up here in the south of the USA.


However, my thoughts continue to return daily to the 
expedition even further south, 
as south as one can go on a great ship.


From the bedroom of my suite on M/S Expedition, the big 
windows looked out onto some amazing scenery and many 
beautiful Southern Ocean birds, mostly huge birds, 
often flying by............ 


...........the Southern giant petrel (here photographed 
ashore with young Antarctic fur seals) with a 6.5 ft 
wingspan..........


....and two quite different adult plumage forms, the 
dark morph which is light grey with a pale head 
as in the first pic, and the white morph which is 
all white as in the above pic.


 Those grisly Skuas again.....thankfully not eating a penguin!


The magnificent Wandering albatross (11.5 ft wingspan) 
equal in size only to the Royal albatross - the two 
largest birds in the world.


The comfortable M/S Expedition, a former Scandinavian 
car ferry, hence the huge 'back door', taking us safely 
across the Southern Ocean.

The Cape petrel is a constant companion during an 
Antarctic cruise and small flocks 
often follow ships for many hours. 
These alongside and photographed from my cabin windows, 
just kept up with the ship for miles - their wingspan is 
33 inches and they  appear to have been splattered with 
paint so are known also by the Spanish word pintado meaning 'painted'.


Seeing these and many other large seabirds from the 
ship makes my garden birds seem so tiny and delicate.


Now and then, while at sea, unusual rocks appear. 
Here we threw on the heaviest parkas and braved a 
cold wind on deck to enjoy thousands of Shags 
(cormorants), Prions and Wandering albatrosses 
nesting and flying overhead.........



.....at Shag Rocks, six small uninhabited islands.



 From sunrise - this photo taken from the window one 
morning at 5:00 AM as we sailed further south 
into the ice - until sunset.............


..............where stepping out onto the decks brought 
beautiful views of colorful sunsets - taken at 6:58 PM on 
the way from the Falklands to South Georgia Island.....



.............days at sea brought spectacular scenery.
As we ventured further south into the ice the colors 
became cooler........I'll be sharing all that 
magnificent white and blue later. 

4 comments:

  1. Wonderful photos! Really enjoying reliving your trip with you!

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  2. What beautiful sunrise and sunset photos, Mary. I know the camera cannot capture the true fullness of the grandeur of those wide open spaces but you have certainly done a fabulous job in recording big chunks of it for us. It looks so cold too, with everyone all bundled up in their parkas.

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  3. It looks so beautiful! Those sunset and sunrise pictures are stunning. It DID look very cold!!
    Hugs,
    Penny

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  4. The sky just looks awesome. It would just take the breathe away to be standing there and seeing the sea life, sunrises, and sunsets. I imagine sometimes you just stood there and took it into your heart instead of the camera.

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