Falklands, South Georgia, and Antarctica Cruise
My wonderful wife Wendy works at Natural Habitat Adventures
(they run incredible nature trips like this worldwide) and
she went to Antarctica in 1997 - yes, she has a cool job.
Due to a very fortunate set of circumstances (and her encouragement and
willingness to watch our kids!), I was able to
do a Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and Antarctica cruise in early 2009.
I departed from Ushuaia, Argentina on Jan 23rd aboard the Ocean Nova
and returned on Feb 10th and it was truly an experience of a lifetime.
The amazing wildlife and spectacular scenery supplies a
"target rich environment"
that is a photographer's ultimate fantasy - I took almost 10,000 pictures!
The several dozen images on this page below provide a chronological overview,
but be sure to use the index for each day
as there was just so much to see on this awesome trip.
Penguins galore (!) at typical Zodiac landing on South George en-route to Antarctica
"One Photographer and a Million Penguins" - Saint Andrews, South Georgia
Jan 21st: Wheels-up at Denver International Airport for a longggg flight!
Jan 22nd: About 7,500 air miles and 30 hours later - shortly before landing in Ushuaia, Argentina
Jan 23rd: Spending a day in Terra Del Fuego Park
Jan 23rd: The Ocean Nova shortly before departure from Ushuaia, Argentina
Jan 24th: Giant Antarctica Petrel as we cruised on the Scotia Sea from Ushuaia to the Falkland Islands
Jan 25th: Zodiacs shuttling passengers from the Ocean Nova to West Point Island - Falklands
Jan 25th: Rockhopper Penguin and Albatross Rookery on West Point Island
Jan 25th: Black-browed Albatross on West Point Island
Jan 25th: Gentoo Penguins scurry up the hill from a beach on Carcass Island - Falklands
Jan 25th: Alek keeps his distance from a Hugenormous (!) Magellanic Penguin on Carcass Island
Jan 25th: Falkland hospitality at the McGill homestead on Carcass Island
Jan 26th: The Union Jack flying over Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands
Jan 27th: We spot a Southern Right Whale while cruising in the Western Scotia Sea
Jan 29th: Diversity of wildlife as seen during morning Zodiac Cruise around Elsehul Harbor, South Georgia
Jan 29th: Penguin Party at Salisbury Plains, South George
- mouseover to see "returning to ship" picture
Jan 29th: Baby fur Seals checking out my camera - mouseover image to see the resulting picture! ;-)
Jan 30th: Cruising into Fortuna Bay where we hiked the last part of the Shackleton Walk to Stromness
Jan 30th: The Fortuna Bay fur seals also liked to check out the cameraman!
Jan 30th: Our 4 mile hike wasn't quite an epic journey like Shackleton's and we also didn't lose a single person! ;-)
Jan 30th: Paul "holds up" the Ocean Nova in Stromness Bay, South Georgia ;-)
Feb 30th: Lots of people hung out for a while on this peaceful grassy plateau just above Stromness Harbor
Jan 30th: An albino fur seal - mouseover image to see head back on straight
Jan 31st: Jim hanging out with a million Penguins at Saint Andrews, South Georgia
Jan 31st: Another picturesque view of Saint Andrews, South Georgia
Jan 31st: Penguin Huddle - "OK, you fake left and go right, you run a buttonhook, and you go deep - BREAK!"
Jan 31st: Former whaling station of Grytviken, South Georgia
Feb 1st: Drygalski Fjord, South Georgia - the water is over 200 meters deep here!
Feb 1st: This was a pretty active glacier with lots of calving - note the birds high-tailing it outa there!
Feb 1st: Incredibly colorful icebergs float by towering glaciated South Georgia mountains
Feb 1st: Macaroni Penguin at Cooper Bay - mouseover to see close-up with reflection of me taking the picture! ;-)
Feb 3rd: Penguins on Iceberg near British Antarctic Survey Signy Base in the South Orkney Islands
Feb 3rd: A brief stop on land at the halfway point between South Georgia and Antarctica
Feb 4th: Sunset at 9:19PM on the Scotia Sea - mouseover image to see 3 minutes later
Feb 5th: approaching Antarctica - taken at 3:32AM which was 63 minutes before a glorious sunrise
Feb 5th: An Antarctic bird flies by just before sunrise - mouseover image for close-up
Feb 5th: A few minutes after sunrise as others enjoy the experience
Feb 5th: Beautiful morning for our first Antarctica landing at Brown Bluff
Feb 5th: Invasion of the Adelie Penguins!!! (mouseover image to see 'em move)
Feb 5th: The Adelie's were actually very friendly - mouseover to see Carol with her another of her "assistants"
Feb 5th: Gentoo Penguins also "posed" for close-in photos!
Feb 5th: Here's a close-up of his feet - mouseover image to see if he needs a manicure! ;-)
Feb 6th: The Clipper Adventurer (and a Leopard Seal) passes by in the Errera Channel
This ship ended up taking the Ocean Nova's passengers 12 days later
Feb 6th: We passed the Europa, a smaller and more rustic ship later on in the channel
Feb 6th: A Skua about to take flight - mouseover image to see me taking the picture
Feb 6th: Gentoo Penguins making their way down the poop stained snow pathways - mouseover to see 'em in action
Feb 6th: We found a Snowman in Antarctica - mouseover image for less serious picture
Feb 6th: View from the Zodiac as we enter Neko Harbor, Antarctica
Feb 6th: View from ashore looking back at the Ocean Nova
Feb 6th: It was fascinating to watch the bonding between the parents and chicks
A darn cute pair of Gentoo Penguin chicks - mouseover image to see the family in action
Feb 6th: Gentoo Penguins go for a swim - mouseover to see next underwater stroke
Feb 6th: We saw (and heard) several spectacular glacier calvings - mouseover image to see the whole arch fall!
Feb 6th: Captain Alexey keeps a close eye on the Orlova in the Lemaire Channel that evening
Feb 6th: Ocean Nova Cabin #309 - my "home" for almost three weeks
Feb 7th: Alek at Port Charcot - our last stop in Antarctica
Feb 7th: Glen got the shot of Paul, James, and Kyle doing the "Polar Plunge" in sub-zero salt water! Video
Feb 7th: The last Antarctic wildlife as photographed from the Zodiac on the way back to the ship
Feb 7th: The last passenger off the last Zodiac signs in - me!
Feb 7th: One of several piles of Wellington Boots - the wooden "boot remover" (back left) worked great
Feb 7th: Looking back at the Zodiac gangway as everything is stowed away
Feb 7th: This was posted nearby ... glad we never needed it ... but the next Ocean Nova trip did! ;-)
Feb 7th: Last view of Antarctica - mouseover image for view without the ship in it
Feb 8th: Alek reviewing pictures despite not feeling too well - more due to a cold than the rough seas
Feb 9th: Kyle, James, and Paul enjoy the last evening onboard the ship
Feb 9th: I gave the slide show the last night onboard the Ocean Nova - mouseover image for other picture
We docked the morning of Feb 10th, 2009 - it felt good to be back on land after 19 days at sea!
The Ocean Nova would depart that evening with a new Captain and another group of passengers
On Feb 17th, the Ocean Nova ran aground in Marguerite Bay near the Argentine research station San Martin
I took almost 10,000 pictures on this trip as it was a total sensory overload! So if the summary
pictures above aren't enough for you, click on the links below to see even
more images and information about each day of this sensational trip.
I hope you enjoy the saga! ;-)
- Jan 21-22, 2009: Air Travel - "getting on a jet plane ... ;-)"
- Jan 22-23: Ushuaia Argentina
- Jan 23: Terra Del Fuego Park, Argentina
- Jan 23: Various cruise ships in port at Ushuaia - Ocean Nova - National Geographic Explorer - Polar Star
- Day 1: Boarding & departing on the ship
- Day 2: Cruising on the Scotia Sea
- Day 3: Falkland Islands - West Point Island and Carcass Island
- Day 4: Falkland Islands - Port Stanley
- Day 5: Cruising on the Scotia Sea - cool whale sightings
- Day 6: Cruising on the Scotia Sea - no keeper pics
- Day 7: South Georgia - Elsehul and Salisbury Plains
- Day 8: South Georgia - Prion Island, Fortuna Bay, and Stromness plus gruesome Skua/Penguin Battle
- Day 9: South Georgia - Saint Andrews (King Penguins), Maiviken, and Grytviken
- Day 10: South Georgia - Drygalski Fjord (Glacier Calving & Cape Petrel) and Cooper Bay
- Day 11: Cruising on the Scotia Sea - no keeper pics
- Day 12: Cruising on the Scotia Sea with stop at Signy Island Base
- Day 13: Cruising on the Scotia Sea - tour of below deck
- Day 14: Antarctica - Brown Bluff (Gentoo Penguins) and Astrolabe Island plus an Antarctica Sunrise!
- Day 15: Antarctica - Danco Island and Neko Harbor (Glacier Calving & Gentoo Penguin Chicks) plus the
Lemaire LOVE Channel
- Day 16: Antarctica - Polar Plunge at Port Charcot! ;-)
- Day 17-18: Returning via the Drake Passage on the Scotia Sea
- Day 19: Dock back at Ushuaia early in the morning
- Feb 10-11: Fly back to Denver
- Feb 17, 2009: Ocean Nova runs aground in Antarctica on the very next trip - D'OH!
- Miscellaneous: Antarctica Videos, Cartwheels in Antarctica, Frisbee in Antarctica, and even an Antarctica Snowman! ;-)
P.S. If you do an Antarctica Cruise, I strongly recommend adding the Falklands and South Georgia Islands (changes the out-n-back trip to a triangular route) since in some respects, they are even more impressive than visiting the 7th continent.
I also have visited the
which are on the equator and have
similar wildlife viewing.
And if you want to go North instead of South, here's some pictures from
Polar Bear trip.
Plus land animals galore
travelled to Africa for a Safari.
Author: Alek Komarnitsky