Thursday, January 21, 2010

South Shetland Islands Adventures

21 January 2010
South Shetland Islands

Early this morning, a staff scout Zodiac set shore on Barrientos Islands
in the Aitcho Islands. Boulder shaped chunks of brash ice had crowded
the shoreline thirty minutes after our ship anchored. As we surveyed the
situation at the landing site, including the sharp swells, our
expedition leader determined that it was not doable. So, the staff
returned to the ship, and we pulled anchor.

A few hours later, we had arrived at Half Moon Island. Again, the swell
looked tough. But, all of us managed the landing quite well. Here we
were able to see a noisy and boisterous Chinstrap Penguin colony. It
was raining, quite windy and cold (for the first time during our
voyage). Satisfied with great views of the penguins, we returned to the
ship for another one of Marcelo and Juans' wonderful lunches.

In the afternoon, the Captain entered Neptune's Bellows, at the entrance
to Whaler's Bay, Deception Island. We had hoped to land at Bailey Head,
but the swell made it impossible. Instead, we enjoyed a terrific ship's
cruise inside of this water-filled caldera. The geology was quite
fascinating. Finally, we departed the South Shetland Islands to begin
our crossing of the Drake Passage. All on board are well, and really,
quite giddy this evening! So, we are heading back to Ushuaia now. A
Humpback Whale just breached off the bow of our ship, our snug and cozy
home. Spirits are very high!

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

Breakfast with the Emperesses

20 January 2010
Weddell Sea

What a day! Each new day seems to top the previous day! Our 24 hour
watch for wildlife paid off in spades with four more Emperess Penguins
sighted. However, this was in the wee, wee hours of 2-3 am. No wake up
calls were made, as Morten planned to return to the same spot later in
the morning. It was his hope that we would refind them. So, we proceeded
south to the southernmmost point on our voyage-- along the west coast of
Snow Hill Island. We saw the Nordenskjold hut on the shore of the
island. Finally, the ice stopped us, and we turned around. Two
additional Emperess Penguins were sighted far away on the pack ice.
Then, we sighted the trio of Emperesses from the early morning hours.
Our dear Captain slowed, turned and stopped the ship. Ultimately, we had
the most incredible views of all three penguins on the pack ice edge!
They even vocalized when a lone Adelie tried to approach them. These
three Emperesses were the youngest I have ever seen. I suspect that they
were about 10 months old. Just so sweet. We left them sliding and
gliding on the ice, to eat our breakfast.

Next up, the Captain wedged the ship into the fast ice. A short Zodiac
ride to the ice was made. Morten led us on a hike to see a Weddell Seal
up close! Undisturbed by us, we left this seal and hiked to see a
Crabeater Seal. It yawned, and lazed about on the ice as if we were not
even present. Oh, Morten also introduced us to the "democratic
snowball fight." (We secretly think that this is a Danish
sport). Finally, the Zodiac drivers retrieved us. What a close and
personal experience we had, surrounded by a snowy land of grandeur.

The ship proceeded forward to Fridtjof Sound, with the Tabarin Peninsula
on one side and Andersson and Jonasson Islands on the other, jagged
icebergs, and tabular ice chunks all around. Surrounded by this most
spectacular sight, bathed in sunlight, with thousands of porpoising
penguins-- it all seemed so "other worldly"!

Heading into Antarctic Sound, we passed Brown Bluff. Morten and Debra
had cooked up something for the afternoon, as Brown Bluff had been
erased from the white board schedule. And, there is was --- a beautiful,
snug place called Hope Bay. Here, we visited the Argentine Antarctic
research station of Esperanza. We had a guided tour of the station, the
Adelie and Gentoo Penguin colonies, and the historic Nortenskjold hut.
It was bright, sunny and a warm 42F! This is the "banana belt" of

This was a completely full day-- from breakfast with the Emperesses to
the some of the grandest scenery of Antarctic, to visiting a friendly
and welcoming research station. Tomorrow, is another day. A full "aura
fluffing" was performed at recap this eveing.

Emperesses forever,
Debi Shearwater
At sea on Professor Multanovskiy in the Bransfield Strait, charter

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The good times just keep on rollin'

19 January 2010
Cape Burd, Tabarin Peninsula, Erebus & Terror Gulf

Another brilliant day! We awoke at Paulet Island and made landing by 8
am on the cobble beach. The sight of at least 100,000 pairs of Adelie
Penguins, along with their sounds and smells, was just an unforgettable
experience. Some of us hiked to the north side toward the Antarctic
Shag colony. Penguins were just everywhere. Sadly, though, many of them
did not have chicks or eggs. Ice was everywhere. At noon, we had a short
Zodiac cruise amongst the ice bits, before returning for lunch.

The afternoon was true expedition cruising, as we headed to the north
shore of Vega Island which is covered in waterfalls. It was true
Antarctic scenery all around, especially as we proceeded toward Duse
Bay. Last year's pack ice was loaded with Adelie Penguins, resting giant
petrels, Antarctic Terns, and the occassional Antarctic Petrel. The
barren mountains spoke to our souls of how desolate a place this is. We
were awed beyond belief, especially knowing that few voyages ever make
it to this part of the world. As legions of Adelie Penguins burst into
the water and swimming just along the edge of the ice, Linda Terrill
spotted TWO EMPEROR PENGUINS swimming with them! The hunt was on, once

It was not doable to make a continental landing at Duse Bay, since it
was blocked by almost 3 miles of ice. So, we turned toward Cape Burd. At
Cape Burd, Jim Lomax was the first of our group to make a CONTINENTAL
LANDING ON ANTARCTICA! Finally, all of us landed on this small cobble
beach. We are pretty sure that we have landed where no one else has ever
gone before us! So, we proceeded with much merriment-- a group photo,
snowballs, and snowman and snow woman were made. Lightly falling snow,
no wind, and fairly warm conditions made it all the more memorable.
Oh, yes, a Snow Petrel drifted by as an oman for our good fortune.

And, now, ladies and gentlemen, I shall join my fellow passengers and
dear Russian crew for our on deck barbeque! A toast to all!

Emperors & Empresses forever,
Debi Shearwater
On board Professor Multanovskiy at Cape Burd in the Terror & Erebus Gulf

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

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Smooth Sailing in the Scotia Sea

17 January 2010
Scotia Sea En Route to the Antarctic Peninsula

It was another one of those pre-wakeup call days! Morten alerted us
about 6:30 am that Kerguelen Petrels were flying around the ship. Soon
enough, the bridge and monkey deck were crowded with birders, ticking
yet another life bird. Seas were incredibly flat-- so much so, that
flocks of Kerguelen Petrels were sitting on the water. What a treat!
Then, the fog rolled in.

Leader David Vander Pluym presented a lecture on the detailed life of
the world's largest seal, the Southern Elephant Seal. About 3 pm, the
fog had lifted to reveal mirror-smooth seas. Debra made an annoucement
that conditions were great, whales were ahead, and the first Southern
Fulmars had been tallied. This woke quite a few folks up from their
naps. For nearly 4 hours, all of us were transfixed with a great
assortment of wildife. None of us could be peeled away. Therefore, two
afternoon lectures were canceled, recap was canceled, and it was decided
that the briefing would be very brief!

Marine life is so often found in patches. This was so apparent during
our 4 hours of wildlife watching. We saw many Southern Fin Whales,
Southern Bottlenose Whales, Southern Elephant Seals, a Leopard Seal,
many Antarctic Fur Seals, as well as many seabirds-- all apparently
feeding on krill. The first Antarctic Tern of the voyage hovered
overhead. Many flocks of Southern Fulmars and Cape Petrels were sitting
on the glassy seas.

Finally, Chet Ogan spotted our first iceberg which was 9 miles away.
Carved with billowy, rounded mounds at the top, and layered with
multi-colored blue strips, this was a most beautiful iceberg. As we drew
closer, and closer, Captain Pruss maneuvered the ship for us to have
wonderful views and photographic opportunities. Two Chinstrap
Penguins stood on the flank of the iceberg. Comically, one slide down
the side, like a child on a sliding board. Our Captain received a round
of applause both from the bridge and the monkey deck for his expert ship
handling. At this stage, many of the passengers have developed quite an
admiration of our captain, comparing him to Sean Connery, no less!

After dinner, the staff set up a 24 hour wildlife watch on the bridge.
Who knows what is in store for us? We continue to fluff our auras! The
weather forecast is for more of the same smooth seas, tomorrow!

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

Beyond the rough patch in the Scotia Sea

16 January 2010
At sea in the Scotia Sea

We departed fabulous South Georgia from the northwest corner of the
island, heading straight for Paulet Island on a course of 220 degrees.
The morning began with an early Snow Petrel which repeatedly circled the
ship. Photographers captured some great images! A couple of Blue Petrels
passed the ship, but overall, bird life was relatively slow. A few whale
spouts were spotted, at least one being a Fin and one Southern Right
Whale. The seas continued to abate throughout the day. This evening,
they are quite managable. Everyone on board is well. Our lecture program
contined with the husband/wife team of Scott and Linda Terrill. Linda's
show about geology, "Gondwana to Graywhacke," was very informative.
Scott's talk, "Natural History of the Petrels, Shearwaters and
Storm-Petrels," filled in the gaps of our previous lectures regarding
the tubenose family of seabirds. Don Doolittle has stuck up some real
bridge games in the bar. I believe he is giving instuctions in the game
to four of the passengers. Debra Shearwater began collecting
photographic images from the passengers for the logbook and final voyage
DVD. Finally, we would like to wish our Chief Mate, Yuri, a belated
Happy Birthday! Yesterday, was the day. So, all is well on our little

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

Friday, January 15, 2010

Farewell to South Georgia

15 January 2010
Godthul & Grytviken, South Georgia

It is amazing how much can be packed into one day! We began with a 4 am
wakeup call from Morten, our EL. By 4:30 am, about half of the ship's
passengers landed at Godthul. The very narrow, rocky beach required us
to carefully keep our distance from the wildlife. Nearly everyone hiked
up the hills with Don to a Gentoo Penguin colony. The colony had very
few chicks. The few remainging folks on the beach also noticed very few
fur seal pups. Researchers at South Georgia had predicted this outcome,
due to a very poor abundance of krill earlier this season. At 7 am, we
returned to the ship for breakfast, while our good Captain repositioned
the ship to Cumberland Bay.

By 9:30 am, we had disembarked the ship at Grytviken in Cumberland Bay.
First, we made our way to the small cemetery. Here, Don Doolittle said a
few words about Sir Ernest Shackleton, and we all toasted "The Boss."
Most of us visited the lovely museum, including the new exhibit of the
replica, James Caird. At the little white church, Jean Harding played
several songs on the organ and rang the church bells. The post office
did a brisk business, as this was the only place on our entire voyage
where folks could send postcards to home. Of course, we might get home,
ourselves, before the postcards arrive! One small group made a near
veritcal hike up the cliffs, led by our skillful doctor, Kate Goldberg,
and Don. Here, they had a great views of a Light-mantled Sooty
Albatross on the nest with a small chick. A light rain was falling. By 1
pm, we returned to our cozy ship, now our home. Before leaving the bay,
we took note of our first, lonely iceberg. More to come on that!

Recap was held in the bar. Morten reviewed our voyage progress to date.
All of us cheered our great forture to have such a brilliant Captain,
Alexander Pruss, and postively outstanding Expedition Leader in Morten.

We are now heading for ANTARCTICA! Fewer folks turned up for dinner,
though, as the seas are quite strong. We are experiencing the "washing
machine effect."

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

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Landings: Salisbury Plain & Fortuna Bay

14 January 2010
South Georgia

After spending a very calm night in the sheltered lee near Salisbury
Plain, we made an early landing. The landing site was teaming with
wildlife! Southern Elephant Seals were scattered amongst the thousands
and thousands of Antarctic Fur Seals. The island's second largest King
Penguin colony is found here. It was a long hike to the colony because
the swell a the standard landing site was far too big for us to land
there. Led by Don Doolittle, we hiked about a mile, or so to the edge of
the colony. Along the way, we encountered several giant petrel and skua
chicks in their nests. Most folks spotted both the South Georgian Pintal
and Pipit. Once we arrived at the colony, the sounds and smells were
incredible. It was King Penguins for as far as we could see! Lots of the
young "oakum boys" were around. Some Kings were holding eggs on their
feet. Returning to the landing site, Morten alerted us to a Leopard Seal
which was hauled out on the beach. South Georgia is the northernmost
limit of their range. So, this turned out to be an unexpected treat.
Finally, we returned to our ship, to eat a quick lunch.

We headed to Prion Island, with a program outlined by Morten and Debra.
However, upon arrival, Morten launched a scout Zodiac, and determined
that the swells were too high for us to safely land. So, a staff meeting
to develop Plan B was held.

Next, we headed for Fortuna Bay, hoping to make a landing. This is an
extremely scenic bay, teaming with wildlife. The snow covered mountain
peaks were visible with clear, blue skies. All around us, we marveled at
the majestic, jagged peaks. Morten and our dedicated captain lauched out
on a Zodiac to see if a landing was possible. Upon their return, Morten
called for the brave of heart and most agile folks to take on the
landing! About half of our ship landed and enjoyed more King Penguins,
as well as a hike to the waterfalls.

Dinner was late-- 8 pm. Tomrrow, we are set for a 4 am wake-up call!

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

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

HIding out at Salisbury Plain

13 January 2010
Salisbury Plain, South Georgia

Well, it had to happen- that big low pressure system running on our
tails, just had to catch up to us, and it did, late last night. Our
captain had repositioned the ship after our excellent Zodiac cruise at
Elsehul. In the lee of Start Point, we spent a peaceful night, while our
fellow travelers on other ships battled gale force winds and seas. In
fact, we spent the entire day at the same anchorage, riding out this
storm which eventually reached a Force 12, hurricane level by mid-day.
We were quite comfortable, with only the occassional roll due to the

Our program today consisted of the Caroline Alexander DVD, "Endurance,"
a classic in its field. In the afternoon, the Shearwater Leaders, Scott
Terrill, Linda Terrill, David Vander Pluym and John Sterling did a recap
of the entire wildlife list, beginning with our extremely successful
days in Ushuaia. This was followed by a our standard recap and briefing,
where our EL, Morten, explained the Beaufort Scale. Debra Shearwater
followed by introducing our ship mascot, Max. Max is a laid back parrot,
sipping his rum and coke, wearing his sunglasses on his straw hat, and
flipping his foot to the tune of, "Don't Worry, Be Happy"! This was
followed by everyone in the bar singing the song. Our Hotel Manager,
Daniela, was especially smitten with Max! He remains in the bar this
evening, watching over a party bridge game headed up by Don Doolittle.

Oh, yes, we did see a few BIRDS! Several South Georgian Pintails flew
past the vessel, a life bird for many on board. More Antarctic Terns
were about today. We have seen many Pale-faced Sheathbills! Don't worry,
be happy! We are pretty much living it up as best we can, while waiting
out the storm. It is now after 9 pm, and the winds have greatly abated.
Now, we hope for the swells to die down for our hopeful activities
planned for tomorrow.

Don't worry-- Morten called a meeting with Debra Shearwater and Don
Doolittle and the Shearwater Leaders, early in the morning. We have a
Plan A and a Plan B! So, Be Happy this evening.

Albatrosses forever,
Debi Shearwater
On board Shearwater Journeys' charter voyage

Shag Rocks & Prion Seas

12 January 2010 on board Professor Multanovskiy

Most of us rushed through breakfast to get out on deck to see the fabled
Shag Rocks. Smallest of the sub-Antarctic islands, these jagged rocks
lie 240 km west of South Georgia and 1500 km east of Tierra del Fuego.
They are rarely visited. To see them under clear and sunny conditions
with calm seas is even rarer. Our highly skilled Captain, Alexander
Pruss, navigated around the rocks so that we could see all sides of
them, along with the 2000 South Georgian Shags which nest there, and few
Antarctic Fur Seals hauled out on the lower levels. It was so calm that
we could even see Black Rock about 17 km away.

The real spectacle was a sea covered with Antarctic Prions. Flocks of
several thousands lifted off the water like swarming bees. This
continued for over 50 minutes of travel time. Currently, the leaders are
tallying those numbers, which must be in the tens of thousands, if not a
million. Making our way toward South Georgia, the first of several Blue
Petrels quartered off the bow.

Our lecture series continued with Linda Terrill speaking about Sir
Ernest Shackleton's legacy. Debra Shearwater gave a short presentation
about the life history of the King Penguin.

After dinner, our Expediton Leader, Morten Joergensen laid out plans for
an evening Zodiac cruise at Elsehul. Peering out the dining room
portholes, we could see the ragged and rugged landscape of South
Georiga. We had arrived!

At 8:30 pm, the Zodiacs were launched and we had an excellent cruise
along the shores of Inner Bay, at Elsehul, South Georgia. Here, we saw
four species of penguins: King, Gentoo, Macaroni and one Chinstrap.
Everyone was pleased to have close up views of the Macaroni Penguins, in
particular. High above our heads in the tussac grass, we could see
Gray-headed and Black-browed Albatrosses on their nests, while Wandering
and Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses flew across the bay. Hundreds of fur
seals and Southern Elephant Seals were lying about the rocky beaches. At
10 pm, we returned to our cozy ship-- and just in time!

We have been racing ahead of a strong low pressure system which finally
caught up to us tonight. These weahter systems are part of the natural
cycle of life in this remote part of the southern world. A gale is in
the forecast.

Several passengers have had some "firsts" on this trip. Steve Carroll
saw his 1000th life bird, a Black-bellied Storm-Petrel. This evening,
Carl Billingham of Australia and Laurilee Thompson of Florida, saw
falling snow for the first times in their lives!

Most passengers are reviewing their thousands of images, working
crossword puzzles, or relaxing in the sauna this evening. Undoubtedly,
all on board are grateful for our highly skilled Captain and Expedition

Albatrosses forever,
Debi Shearwater

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Whale of a Day!

11 January 2010 En Route to South Georgia

Early morning found us surrounded by whales in all directions off the
bow. The first of 59 Fin Whales made a pass only 30 feet off the bow.
This was immediately followed by 2 Sei Whales which followed our joyful
ship at the 10 o'clock position for about 5 minutes. Hourglass Dolphins
rode the bow. More Fin Whales appeared. Our very keen Captain slowed the
ship, and cameras shot off in rapid fire. V-shaped blows were spotted
off the bow. Again, our Captain carefully navigated our ship, providing
excellent views and photo opportunities for us with four Southern Right
Whales! Many folks on board were especially anxious to see this
particular species of whale. A few more Hourglass Dolphins cruised by.
Finally, six Southern Bottlenose Whales were spied. They never
approached the ship, but due to the extremely calm seas, all on board
were afforded good views of this toothed whale. It was one incredible
day for whales-- and, perfect timing since we had had our cetacean
lecture only yesterday.

Seas continued to remain remarkably flat, without any whitecaps
whatsoever. The sea surface temperature dropped from 10 degrees C at the
Falkland Islands to 6 degrees C, and finally to 4 degrees C, after
crossing the Antarctic Convergence, or Polar Front, today. This brought
a major influx of Antarctic Prions. A few King Penguins were seen
swimming at sea, and more Gray-headed Albatrosses were spotted today.

We continued our on board lectures, with Don Doolittle presenting an
informative talk about Ice; John Sterling on Albatross Natural History,
and Debra Shearwater on an overview of South Georgia's magnificent

Very early tomorrow morning, we hope to spot Shag Rocks, the smallest
sub-Antarctic islands.

Our total cetacean counts for 11 January 2010 were:

Albatrosses forever,
Debra Shearwater

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

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sunny Saunders Island

9 January 2010
About midnight, last night, we anchored off Saunders Island, the second
largest offshore island within the Falkland Islands. Today, we spent a
full eight hours on this very scenic and hospitable island, landing at
The Neck. Highlights were many: close-up views of Rockhopper Penguins,
Imperial Shags and Black-browed Albatrosses on their nests. Magellanic
Penguins were poking their heads out of their nesting burrows, while a
few stately King Penguins stood on the periphery of the Gentoo Penguin
colony. Fluffy brown skua chicks easily hide in the vegetation. Kelp and
Dophin Gulls greated us at the beach, along with Striated Caracaras. The
island's owner, David Pole-Evans chatted with us from his Land Rover.

After yet another one of Marcelo's fabulous lunches, we returned to the
island for several afternoon hikes. Long hikers went to the lake which
was covered with waterfowl. Black-necked Swans, Silvery Grebe, Silver
Teal, and two White-winged Coots were among the many species found.
Another hiking group scaled the summit of Mount Harston. The Captain of
our ship joined this hike. Birders were rewarded with a sighint of half
a dozen Rufous-chested Dotterels. Meanwhile, the slower hikers spread
out along both coasts. All groups were rewarded with superb views of
surf riding Commersons' Dolphins. Warm and worn out, all returned to the
landing site only to discover that the Striated Caracaras had had a
field day with the boots and socks that we had left behind! I arrived in
time to see on caracara carrying off a blue sock, while three others
pulled at the shoestrings of one of the boots! It was quite a comedy.

Tonight, we are headed for South Georgia Island, undoubtedly the single
most important sub-Antarctic island in the world. Again, we are escorted
by small parties of Commerson's Dolphins. The first Greater Shearwaters
appeared. and we ended the day with the "green flash." Seas are a bit
rolly, but there is no wind or whitecaps.

We can only imagine the treasures we shall discover at South Georgia.

Albatrosses forever,
Debra Shearwater

Bold, Daring & Naughty!

On 6 January 2010 at 7pm,Shearwater Journeys' charter voyage to the
Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica departed from Ushuaia,
Argentina under fair skies aboard Professor Multanovskiy. This unique
voyage has been planned for nearly 3 years in collaboration with
Oceanwide Expeditions, winner of the 2009 Polar Expeditions Award. We
sailed with 49 birders, 6 Shearwater Journeys' staff, our Expedition
Staff and 20 excellent Russian Crew. Excitement was very high, indeed!

7 January, we spent the day at sea en route to the Falkland Islands.
Conditions were quite excellent, as we were escorted by hoards of
albatrosses, prions, storm-petrels, giant petrels and more. Both
Northern and Southern Royal Albatrosses were a highlight for many on
board. These were eclipsed by Sei Whales and Peale's Dolphins in the
early evening.

8 January, found us approaching Carcass Island in the early morning. Our
ship was escorted by a bevy of Peale's and Commerson's Dolphins. At our
landing site, we found many species of birds: Striated Caracara, Cobb's
Wren, Tussac Birds, Magellanic Penguins, Gentoo Penguins and more! For
me, personally, a hightlight of the day was having the Captain as the
Zodiac driver!

After a wonderful lunch, we proceeded to our hopeful landing at Steeple
Jason. This is a very difficult landing, and few are successful. Our
extremely skillful Expediton Leader, managed to find a spot in amongst
the rocks, where every passenger was able to make a safe landing on this
glorious island. Steeple Jason holds the world's largest colony of
nesting albatrosses. We were thrilled to see so many Black-footed
Albatross chicks in their nests. Both islands provided a beautiful
hike with outstanding scenery. It was sunny, balmy and even hot, near
70F. At 8 pm, we returned to our cozy home and enjoyed another one of
Marcelo's excellent dinners. We had executed our "bold, daring and
naughty" plan quite successfully. Spirits are extremely high.

Albatrosses forever,
Debra Shearwater, on board Professor Multanovskiy

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


HOLA, Friends & Family & Birders,

Shearwater Journeys' incredible voyage to the ANTARCTIC PENINSULA, SOUTH GEORGIA and THE FALKLAND ISLANDS is about to begin this afternoon. All 49 passengers/birders and six Shearwater Leaders are extremely excited. Buzzing energy is in the air! In addition to these 55 people, we will be joined by expert Expedition Leader, Morten Joergensen of Denmark and top Hotel Manager, Daniela Cristoff of Argentina, our wonderful doctor Kate Goldberg from England, two chefs and our able Russian Crew of 20, including Master, Alexander Pruss, one of the best Russian Captains. Professor Multanovskiy awaits us at the dockside.

Most of us (46) enjoyed a wonderful day of birding in TIERRA DEL FUEGO NATIONAL PARK, Ushuaia, Argentina, yesterday. Highlights included: ANDEAN CONDOR, AUSTRAL PYGMY OWL, many MAGELLANIC WOODPECKERS, ASHY-HEADED and UPLAND GEESE, THORN-TAILED RAYADITO, WHITE-THROATED TREERUNNER, AUSTRAL THRUSH, PATAGONIAN SIERRA-FINCH, and more. Three species of caracaras were found— SOUTHERN CRESTED, WHITE-TRHOATED (first time I have ever seen one away from the dump), and an extremely comical group of CHIMANGO CARACARAS, eating an unattended picnic lunch, including the chicken on the grill!

It's time to cast off the lines!! Stay tuned for more, once I am on board our new home!

Best of the New Year to all,

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

**Antarctica, South Georgia, & The Falkland Islands, January 5-24, 2010*
Shearwater Journeys' Exclusive Charter
Waiting list available