More Falklands and more WOW! Sea Lion & Bleaker Islands

Itinerary:

  1. Zodiacs to Sea Lion Island to see huge colonies of Gentoo Penguins and Elephant Seals
  2. Stay Dry!
  3. Zodiacs to Bleaker Island to see Rock hopper penguins, Rock Shags, and more King Cormorants (Blue Eyed Shag)
  4. Continue my reputation for being the last person back on the boat

I owe you guys a full story on yesterday, but I’m sorry to tell you to wait another day. We are currently on our way to the best part of the trip: 6 days in South Georgia. It will take us 2 days by sea to get there, so I’ll have plenty of time to write proper recaps on yesterday and today.

I am in absolute awe of the wildlife – it keeps getting better and better. Today began with watching Elephant Seals battle things out for dominance of the beach. I saw baby seals get steam rolled by the 2 ton beach masters and I got to spend some time with a 3-4 week old pup. It is amazing what happens around here when you just sit down and start saying things in an even voice to the wildlife – they come right to you! More about that later.

I walked over 3 miles with about 40lbs of gear on my back this morning to get caught in a nasty storm with sideways sleet, rain, and snow. Cover was over a mile away in a Falklands hotel up a muddy hill and across wet sand. If that wasn’t enough, we then walked over 2 miles to get to a huge Rock Hopper penguin colony in the afternoon….with the same gear on my back, plus some extra clothing just in case. Then, I just finished a very filling, very nice, and very long dinner with Flip Nicklin (National Geographic Photographer) and his wife. I am beat!

Before I post some photos and give in to the effects of the sea-sick pills I just downed I want to share something else. Apparently, some of the guests and crew thought I was part of the staff. I was wondering why I was having trouble getting waited on from time to time and why all these people kept coming up to me asking what an animal’s behavior was or how to use their camera. The funny part is, I have known the answer to every question except one, and that was about the breeding habits of some small bird I have absolutely zero interest in. I figure there are a few things making people think I’m part of the staff:

  • I am always talking to one of the actual staff
  • I run around with a big white camera lens
  • I wear the freebie-tourist parka (which is nice), but typically take it off as soon as we hit shore
  • Sometimes I wear my red jacket that looks the same as the staff
  • I have a cabin on the main deck all the way at the back of the boat, so only a few people see me going to it (most people are on the lower decks)

Anyway, I thought that was funny because I just found out at dinner tonight.

Well, here are some photos….and….

A big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sister Lesley! Hope Mom remembered to pass you the card I left for you, and also hope you’re having some fun for your 26th! Another 6 months and I’ve got an extra year on you again. No offense sis, but I’m really not sorry I’m missing your birthday this year 🙂

Whatever...another penguin.  Whatever...another human.
Whatever...another penguin. Whatever...another human.
King Penguin by his lonesome.  Kings don't frequent Sea Lion Island and he just came walking up to us from the dunes.  It was an incredible moment for the 4 of us on the beach.
King Penguin by his lonesome. Kings don't usually frequent the Falklands in big numbers. According to Kevin Schafer, they never frequent the island we were on. While we were watching a Beach Master fight off a competitor Elephant Seal, this little guy walked up to us from over a sand dune. It was a very special moment for the 4 of us on the beach who were there to witness it. I've got the pictures to prove he was there now!

Advertisements

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Dave (nfrs2000nyc) says:

    Jesus man, this is just getting better and better. King penguins look fantastic. It seems like it’s impossible to miss a shot here. Keep it goin pal, be safe!

    Like

  2. Terry says:

    Alex,
    Beautiful pics!!!! I have the island as my background here at work.
    Thanks for sharing it’s a great way to start the morning!!
    Terry

    Like

  3. Mabel says:

    WOW….. Alex all these pics are amazing I can’t wait to see more! I bet you are having a great time taking all those pics and experiencing all the wildlife there.

    Like

  4. Rommelyn says:

    So awesome. I check back almost every day hoping you’ve got something new. Your pictures are amazing. I hope you’re having an absolute great time! Take care and thanks for sharing.

    Like

  5. Jody DeVere says:

    Alex – The King penguin pics are so amazing so jealous you get this close in the wild…you must be having a blast.

    Jody DeVere

    Like

  6. Looks like Checkered Flag might be in trouble if you become a stow away on the Endeavor 🙂

    Like

  7. Hmm…maybe you should request that National Geographic pay you! 😉

    Like

  8. Cathy Dixson says:

    Ok Alex – so when does NG hire you as a shooter?

    Like

  9. axspot says:

    Thanks everybody. I’m having a lot of fun with the camera again. I was definitely rusty at first, but it is like riding a bike. On top of that, I’m shooting next to some of the world’s best! They keep the game very tough….and I’m not just talking about the pros here – there are some amazing photographers amongst the guests as well. I’d say over 50% of my fellow passengers came to shoot and have years of experience.

    I had a tough time keeping a connection going for the latest posting I just did. We’re headed into some rough weather. We’re also headed toward the Antarctic Converge! It is a spot in the ocean where the the temperature drops a few degrees and is kind of like going from sea level to climbing a mountain. The really cool part is that we’re getting ready to see some new things (icebergs, different sea birds, more whales, etc)!

    If you don’t hear from me tomorrow, it is probably due to the weather….and I’ll just leave it at that 😉

    Good night! Oh yeah, I’m 2 hours ahead of you all now. Morning sure does come early out here because we’re still waking around 6:00 AM – 4:00 AM for you guys…still 4:00 AM for me too!

    Like

  10. Donna says:

    Alex,
    I follow your posts with great interest-this is truly the trip of a lifetime, though I hope for you, the first of many. Your photos are remarkable….it almost makes me wish I’d gone through with that wedding, just to have had you photograph it. Extraordinary shots….I am sooooo jealous! More, more!

    Like

  11. Mom says:

    Alex,
    Yes, Lesley got her card and a feast I might add…took 2hrs. & the restaurant wasn’t busy.
    It is chilly here today but nothing like you are walking through. Sideways-sleet. Does that mean the global warming in summer there is a hoax?
    Have more fun!
    LU -Mom

    Like

  12. Ryan says:

    Alex,

    Everything looks awesome man! Sounds like you’re having fun! Since you left, I’ve been running Checkered Flag so you should not worry about things here (sales are only down 60% this month 🙂 haha jk…anyways, be safe, have fun, and see if you can’t sneak one of those penguins back in your carry-on for me!

    Ryan

    Like

  13. axspot says:

    Sorry I didn’t comment last night Ryan – I lost my connection.

    If you’re running Checkered Flag, does this mean we are only open 2 days a week and can wear shorts and a t-shirt?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s