Sunday, November 14, 2010

ON BOARD PLANCIUS: November 4 - 5, 2010

Howdy, Birders,

"Time flies, when you're having fun", the saying goes, on board M/v
Plancius! It has been a busy time for me, but I will try to catch up on
the voyages. The "South Georgia Exclusive Voyage ended at 8 am, November
4 in Ushuaia. We bid farewell to our dear friends, Lorraine and Edwin,
who also participated in the Shearwater Journeys' Charter Voyage this
past January. Also, fond farewells to the many new friends we made,
especially our Dutch friends, and my new Dutch "sister," Jonneke van
Eijsden. Jonneke is the owner of Beluga Expeditions and Adventures,
based in The Netherlands.

Ushuaia is one of our favorite towns in Argentina. There is so much to
do, but we had so little time. Don headed off for the Martial Glacier to
search for the cryptically plumaged White-bellied Seedsnipe, while I
headed to Hotel Albatros to check emails. At the Hotel, I met some of
the folks who would join us on our next voyage: Donna, Carol, Lois and
Will and Gill. On Avenue San Martin, the main shopping row, I
reconnected with Don, using our family radios. We enjoyed a lunch at on
of our favorite restaurants, Tante Sara, bought some wine, visited the
post office and bookstore. In no time at all, it was time to board the
ship for our next voyage. Don did not find the unobtrusive seedsnipe,
despite the fact that the day was warm and full of sunshine! So it was,
under sunny skies with the surrounding mountain peaks glowing, we headed
up the Beagle Channel, escorted by the Chilean Skuas and South American
Terns. Who could ask for a better start to a voyage to what is surely
one of the most incredible places on Earth?

The next day found us at sea en route to the Falkland Islands. We
enjoyed beautiful views of Staten Island and the southern coast of
Tierra del Fuego. Peale's Dolphins accompanied us, off and on. The
Expedition Staff was introduced and the lecture program on board was in
full swing. Troels Jacobsen remained on board as our Expedition Leader,
and Christopher Gilbert as our Assistant Expedition Leader. Of course
our lovely Hotel Manager, Natascha Wisse was still with us, along with
her wonderfully entertaining assistant, Francis de Buck. Our passengers
were truly international on this voyage, with folks from France, Taiwan,
The Netherlands, Australia, Argentina, Italy, England and the United
States. And, we settled in to our cabins, routines and getting to know
each other. So our first day at sea was uneventful in terms of sea
conditions and weather. One significant seabird sighting was of two
MOTTLED PETRELS, rarely found in this region. Great Albatrosses—
Northern and Southern Royals and many Wandering Albatrosses escorted us
along our way.

Southern seas forever,
Debi Shearwater
On board Plancius; Falkland Islands, South Georgia & Antarctic Peninsula

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