Tuesday, November 2, 2010

ON BOARD PLANCIUS: October 29, 2010

TO: debi@shearwaterjourneys.com

FROM: Debi Shearwater Cabin 602

OCTOBER 29, 2010

Howdy, Birders,

Once again, we arrived at Fortuna Bay for a proper landing. This is a 6
km long fjord leading to the heart of South Georgia's interior. Several
groups hiked up to a Gentoo Penguin nesting area. The mountaineers hiked
to a glacier and jumped into a lake for a short swim. Others, including
Don, made a wild hike in the tussac in search of nesting Light-mantled
Sooty Albatrosses! This is not a hike for everyone, as one misstep can
be quite serious. Don returned with incredible photographs of the
albatrosses! Also, this small group of hikers found a broken albatross

Landing at Possession Bay was next up, after lunch. This was a new
landing site for both Don and I. (We love revisiting sites, but really
appreciate new sites!) The weather was still holding out, although there
was wind, today. At our landing site, at least half a dozen Southern
Giant Petrels were on their nests. Giant petrels are more easily
disturbed by human presence. Therefore, the South Georgian government
requires us to double the 5m distance rule to 10m. Along a the shoreline
of a small lake, many Brown Skuas were bathing. At the far end of the
beach we could detect a huge commotion. This turned out to be a feeding
frenzy of giant petrels on a newborn elephant seal! This occupied all of
my remaining time on shore! Watching the giant petrels vying for
positions on the carcass, sticking their blood-soaked heads deep into
the carcass and skuas trying for bits and pieces on the side was just
amazing to observe. This is akin to watching a kill on the Serengeti in
East Africa.

Giant petrels forever,
Debi Shearwater
On board Plancius; South Georgia Exclusive Voyage

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