Monday, January 18, 2010


18 January 2010
At sea in the Scotia Sea & entering Antarctic Sound

The morning began with Don Doolittle spotting Antarctic Petrels circling
ship. Normally, this would be cause for great celebration. However, it
was only 4:30 am! The Shearwater Leaders, along with Dr. Kate Goldberg
were on a 24 hour watch, with strict instuctions regarding which
wildlife species they should report to the Expediton Leader, and wake
him up! Antarctic Petrel was not on the "wake up Morten" list. However,
Don decided to wake Morten up, gently. Morten jumped out of bed, and
immediately announced the Antarctic Petrels to the entire ship! Ben
Feltner was the first one on the bridge to see these beautiful enigmatic
petrels. Most voyages to Antarctic find 0-3 petrels per trip. So, we
knew this was an important bird for all of our passengers to see. Lucky
for us, all on board are birders, and therefore quite thrilled to jump
out of bed for a life bird, even at that early hour! Little did we know
that at the end of the day, Antarctic Petrel would turn out to be the
most common bird of the day, with some 473 birds counted by the leaders.
(They make hourly counts and tallies). Cape Petrels circled the ship,
and the occassional Snow Petrel drifed by like a snowflake. Amazingly,
at least 12 Arctic Terns were recorded, and some photographed. Five
Humpback Whales made a show.

Our on board lectures continued with Don presenting the
daring and complicated expedition led by Otto Nordenskjold and Scott
talked about Adelie Penguins and global warming. All of this happened
prior to lunch!

Finally, we sat down to enjoy our lunch. Just as we finished our soup, a
loud report came over the walkie talkie radios (which the Shearwater
Leaders use), from Linda Terril--- EMPEROR PENGUIN!!!!! She had stayed
on the bridge to search for this bird, and she sure as heck spotted it.
A mad dash to the stairways and up to the bridge and monkey deck ensued.
Fortunately, our good Captain was right there with Linda when she
spotted the SY Emperor Penguin. It was on the pack ice edge. After some
fairly frantic moments, and reopositioning of the ship, the Captain got
us all on the lonely penguin. Everyone on board had great views!! What
an exciting day. We returned to lunch, not wanting to keep our
delightful restaurant staff waiting too long.

During the afternoon, we encountered our first giant chunks of tabular
ice. The Captain slowed the vessel for us to get our photographs.
"Emperors on Ice" was the afteroon featured DVD, while "Happy Feet" was
the already scheduled evening DVD. How about that for coincidence?

Recap and briefing were held in the bar. Morten presented Linda
with a congradulatory bottle of wine. Then, Morten laid out our plans
for the next two days. Debra explained that we would experience true
expedition cruising and possibly visit some relatively unknown areas.
Our morning plan is to land at the magnificent Paulet Island.

As I write this, we are entering Antarctic Sound. It is foggy, but sea
conditions are great and pretty darn calm. We expect that it will only
get better. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

Petrels forever,
Debi Shearwater
On board Professor Multanovskiy, charter voyage

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