Monday, January 11, 2010

Smooth Sailing

10 January 2010

Reluctantly, we departed from Saunders Island in the Falkland Islands,
to begin our journey to South Georgia. Throughout the day, five
different lectures were presented by the Shearwater Journeys' leaders.
Scott Terrill presented a lecture about the challenges of prion
identification, while John Sterling covered the finer points of
albatross identification. Don Doolittle covered DLSR photography in his
lecture. David Vander Pluym prepared us for our upcoming encounters with
seals, seal lions and fur seals in his lecture. Debra Shearwater
presented a lecture about the many species of cetaceans which we might
encounter on our voyage.

Throughout the day, we maintained a wildlife watch. Seas are extremely
calm, without any whitecaps, whatsoever. The vast majority of the day,
we had beautiful, warm T-shirt weather. When not in lectures learning
more about the wildlife we hope to encounter, just about everyone was on
deck. The first great views of wandering albatross, black-bellied
storm-petrels, soft-plumaged petrels, and gray-headed albatross were
found. Also, the first hourglass dolphins of the voyage made a pass at
the bow. A highlight of the day was one little shearwater.

We ended our evening with a recap where John told us more about the
Polar Front. Don gave a demonstration of the Coreolis Effect, as well as
an excellent mathematical explanation of "how far is the horizon."

At the moment, the horizon seems very far, as we wonder what treasures
we might encounter when we reach the fabled island of South Georgia.

Albatrosses forever,
Debra Shearwater

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