Friday, March 26, 2010

What's Next? Future Voyages & Adventures!

World Travelers,

Having completed the "Voyage of a Lifetime" to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, Weddell Sea and Antarctic Peninsula, one can only wonder if it is possible to top this trip. Probably not. However, many other exciting and unique adventure travel opportunities of equally magnificent proportions can be had! Not one of us has "seen it all, or done it all." So, let's keep the good times rolling!

First, let me say that many of our charter adventurers asked about future trips that Morten Jørgensen and I might be offering. We have given this some thought and are currently in the early planning stages of joint collaboration on future voyages! See more below.

The first question is: Is it worth it to return to Antarctica, South Georgia, or the Falkland Islands? Well, you know the saying, "You can never go home." In my opinion, having "discovered" what I consider to be the world's most pristine and magnificent lands, it is always worth a return visit. Obviously, some of you agree, as at least eight folks on our charter voyage were making their second trip to the Antarctic region. One lucky soul made her third voyage! These are my thoughts on returning voyages for our 2010 charter passengers. Some of this advice might well apply to others following the blog. 

SOUTH GEORGIA: Having journeyed to South Georgia several times, I can say in all honesty that it is one of the places well worth returning to, time and again. Only a handful of voyages are on offer, worldwide, as a South Georgia exclusive trip. I will be on board the new ship, Plancius, on such a voyage this coming southern season. This exclusive South Georgia voyage begins in Montevideo, Uruguay on October 18th. This voyage will have many unique aspects to it, including a circumnavigation of the island, a visit to Cape Rosa where Shackleton and his men landed after their epic 16 day voyage from Elephant Island, and ample opportunities to for hiking on shore. The voyage ends on November 4th in Ushuaia, Argentina. The voyage already has enough booked passengers to assure that it will operate. I invite you to join me on board this unique voyage and experience much more of South Georgia's wildlife. We will be visiting new landings that we did not visit on our January voyage, including Stromness Harbor, Gold Harbor, Cooper Bay, St.Andrews Bay, Maiviken, Prion Island, and others. Of course, we will also call in at some of the places we visiting on our January voyage, such as Grytviken. If you would like a detailed itinerary, please let me know. All cabins are private. Rates are twin at $9590 and for superior at $10,990. 

FALKLAND ISLANDS: I plan to return to the Falkland Islands on a land based visit, either in late December 2010, or early January 2011. It is possible to fly from Chile to Port Stanley in the Falklands. Once in Port Stanley, it is possible to fly to several of the islands, and stay, either in B & B type facilities, or in small huts. You may have noticed these while we were visiting Carcass and Saunders Islands. In fact, I plan to return to both of these island, as well as a few additional places. I have not yet set my itinerary. I plan to spend a lot of time photographing the wildlife! If you would like to join me, please let me know, as it will be easier to accommodate a party of folks from the early stages of planning.

ANTARCTICA, SOUTH GEORGIA & THE FALKLAND ISLANDS GRAND VOYAGE: Given the current world economic situation, most companies are reluctant to charter an entire ship for the Grand Voyage at this time. However, I do plan to return to this voyage. If you have friends who could not make our charter voyage of 2010, please let them know that this adventure will be on offer, again— hopefully, with Morten and myself on board.

ANTARCTIC PENINSULA: Owing to the incredibly good weather while we were in the Weddell Sea, we choose to spend more of our time there, rather than head to the west side of the peninsula (where the weather was near gale force, according to the reports we received). This turned out to be a fantastic decision! Few trips ever make it inside the W Sea, or spend as much time as we did. However, the western side of the peninsula is spectacular. This could be a trip which would greatly enhance your adventure travel to date. Peninsula trips typically run for about 10 days. This is a good trip for those who do not have a lot of time off from work and for families with children. Trips begin and end in Ushuaia and are lower priced than trips which include the Falklands and South Georgia. I hope to fit a voyage to the peninsula into my travel schedule in either early December 2010, or January 2011. 

ARCTIC VOYAGE: THE OTHER END OF THE EARTH: Morten and I are currently in the planning stages of a voyage to the high Arctic for the summer of 2012! This would be a very small ship based voyage to Svalbard. We would be targeting all of the high Arctic species including polar bear, beluga, walrus, Arctic fox, Ivory gull, little auks (dovekie), murres to mention a few species, as well as glaciers and fjords. This exclusive voyage will be limited to 11 passengers! If you are interested in joining us, please let me know as soon as possible. Expect some stunning scenery and great photographic opportunities.

RUSSIAN FAR EAST: THE OTHER END OF THE EARTH: Morten and I may also be leading a voyage in the Russian Far East, possibly in the summer of 2012. To date, I have made three such voyages. Each one has been fascinating! Steller's sea eagles, brown bears, thousands and thousands of common and thick-billed murres, parakeet, crested and least auklets, and the holy grail of the alcids— whiskered auklets. Stay tuned for more information regarding this voyage.

NEW ZEALAND SUB-ANTARCTIC ISLANDS & MACQUARIE ISLAND: THE REST OF THE WORLD'S PENGUINS & ALBATROSSES— well, almost. New Zealand is the center for world diversity of penguins and albatrosses! You have seen a whole lot of penguins, including half the species of the world. What about the rest? On this voyage, we should see many of the "other" penguins: Snares, erect-crested, yellow-eyed (the rarest penguin), along with king, gentoo, rockhopper and blue. Royal albatrosses on the nest are another highlight. These NZ islands experience warm and wet weather. There is no snow. Vegetation is as interesting as the birds themselves. Where else in the world can one find penguins and (endemic) parakeets on the ground? Again, Morten and I hope to collaborate on this voyage.

OPEN OCEAN VOYAGES: In a few short days, I'll be joining one of the most specialized seabirding voyages on offer— the WESTERN PACIFIC ODYSSEY. This voyage begins near Auckland, New Zealand and visits many of the islands of the western Pacific. It is targeted, specifically, for seabirds and marine mammals, especially the rarest of the seabirds (recently rediscovered New Zealand Storm-Petrel and Beck's Petrel and others). We shall be visiting many unusual islands. Some of these include: Norfolk Island, Micronesian Islands, four days in the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia for Kagu, and passing near Tori Shimi, the island where most of the world's Short-tailed (Steller's) Albatrosses nest! The voyage ends in Yokohama, Japan. Near the end, I hope to see the Japanese Murrelet, the only alcid in the world that I have not seen to date! Amazingly, three folks from our charter 2010 voyage jumped on board with me for this trip. The four of us are hooking up with a friend of mine in Japan to go birding on Mount Fuji after the voyage ends. This unusual voyage will only be repeated for two more years— 2011 and 2012. Next year is currently sold out. If you would like to book for 2012, please contact me as soon as possible! You can follow our voyage on my blog:

TRAVELING INDEPENDENTLY ON VOYAGES: I've traveled to many other places of the world by ship. For instance, the Atlantic Odyssey, Ushuaia, Argentina to Cape Town, South Africa, and many other places. If you would like advise or assistance with your travel plans, I would be happy to help book your journey. I do not "upcharge" as some agents do. In fact, I can sometimes find and offer good discounts on voyages. 

THE REST OF THE WORLD: It's a big world out there, of course! I plan to go birding in PERU for the entire month of November 2010. I'm already booked on a bird tour for most of the month. I'm wondering if there is anyone who would like to join me for some independent travel to some of the lodges in Peru in late November or early December. Let me know, if you are interested. I just had a hankering to see a lot of different kinds of birds. For long range planners, I have the following trips on the boards— EAST AFRICA: TANZANIA (This would be a returning trip for me which would include some of the "standard" places, as well as out of the ordinary places, including the Selous!). SCOTLAND & SINGLE MALT— I've been wanting to do this trip for a long time. My idea is to bird in the morning, and go tasting single malt in the afternoons/evening, while enjoying some great Scottish music! TRANS-SIBERIAN EXPRESS— not a pure birding tour, but certainly an adventure. It is at the top of my list. PANAMA— Don and I spent the month of December 2009, birding all over Panama. I may plan a small group tour to this excellent birding country.

It IS a big world. I hope to see you "out there"!

From the Pacific— 39˚36'N and 126˚31'W en route to Ensenada, Mexico from Hawaii,

Debra Shearwater
Shearwater Journeys, Inc.
PO Box 190
Hollister, CA 95024

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