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The Grouch on Seabourn Quest January 12, 2020 San Antonio to Buenos Aires via Antarctica


whogo
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Thursday, January 23, 2020. Pléneau Island.

 

I have not bothered including latitude and longitude on this blog, it is available with photos and commentary by Seabourn here: https://my.yb.tl/seabournexpeditions/

 

No show last night, the movie “March of the Penguins” played in the Grand Salon instead. Expedition leader Chris announced before dinner that there would be scenic cruising at 9:30. What did he think we sailing past, chopped liver? The official scenic cruising was through the narrow Lemaire Channel. I took a look at the entry way, impressively narrow with steep mountains and went to bed. Mrs. Whogo watched from our cabin and found the reflection of the mountains in the water impressive. We did not turn the commentary on in our cabin, she did not see the orcas or minke whales. We awoke today just out of the south end of the channel at Pléneau Island. The ship is holding position here without anchoring, we hear the bow thrusters which are right below us.

 

The bacon problem is solved for today. We are scheduled for a zodiac tour at 8:00 during dining room breakfast time. No bacon, no problem. A micro-mini continental breakfast is available daily in the Observation Bar. I had a crock of sweetened yogurt with oats, decided that was a girly breakfast and added a donut with chocolate frosting. Do not tell Mrs. Whogo.

 

The forecast called for 32°F with winds of 20 mph, it was 39°F with a light breeze, I only wore one glove and did not put on my stocking cap, others wore everything they had. Zodiaced (that's now a word) around amongst the ice, spotted my first arctic tern, saw swimming seals and swimming gentoo penguins nearby and maybe four seals on an iceberg and had a distant view and scent of a large gentoo penguin colony, much larger than yesterday's colony. The book says gentoo penguins are up to 36”. I expected them to be waist high. They were a foot shorter, the 36” is measured beak to tail tip when they are stretched out.

 

Highlight of the zodiac tour was seeing an iceberg turn over. As the saltwater eats away the submerged part of the berg the center of gravity changes until the iceberg flips. Do you understand the iceberg flipping process in my one sentence? Our guide made it simpler and longer and repeated and repeated as if we were fourth graders. He continued his fourth grade lecture for the explanation of seals (no ear flaps, less agile on land) vs sea lions (ear flaps) and every other topic of conversation. Maddening. Our guide did not identify the species of seal we saw. Crabeater? Wedell? [People with the good guides said they were crabeaters, one looked different because it was molting.] We approached the most interesting berg, big tilted thing with caves carved into it. We neared the place where you could look into the caves. Neared, did not get there, missed by fifty yards of clear water. Other zodiacs went farther, we did not. Maddening. Do not get me wrong, the zodiac ride was cool, seeing penguins and seals swimming nearby was thrilling, but the commentary was disappointing. I warned you in the title of this blog that I was a grouch.

 

Think the Seabourn Quest is a beautiful white? It is in port. Against a snowy backdrop it looks dingy. To finish my grousing, lunch was poor, maybe by plan, it was England themed. Mushy peas were cold, chips were undercooked, and the breading on the fish did not crisp through. Meal was redeemed by the bread and butter pudding. Mrs. Whogo and I shared a serving, she had a quarter of a forkful.

 

This spot at about 65°S latitude is as far south as we will cruise. We have lost satellite connection for internet and television, I won't miss it.

 

We headed back north up Lemaire Channel at 5:00 PM at a sedate 5 knots, lots of ice in the water, no commentary available. I spotted glaciers and a penguin colony without expert help. The mountain tops were hidden by clouds. Have yet to see the sun in Antarctica, although there was a patch of blue sky today. I watched a herd of at least eight gentoo penguins swim and leap out of the water. I went out on the bow to see why the ship had stopped, the Quest had run out of sea, the captain had driven into a bay, maybe it would be called a fjord. The glacier therein apparently calved. I did not see it, naturally. I will have to find out how far apart our stops are, seem very close, I have not seen a map with a scale. The recap and briefing was cancelled.

 

Attended another hosted table, this time by the human resource manager, she was from Transylvania, Aussies and Brits rounded out the table.

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20 hours ago, frantic36 said:

 

 

Thanks for your reply Fletcher. Giant elephant seals with giant schnozzles is definitely on my wish list. I am mindful that mother nature likes to be selective what she shows us sometimes even with the best research. My philosophy is she likes to keep us uppity humans in line. 🙂

 

Julie


Hi Julie

 

Then I recommend Sea Lion Island in the Falklands.  I took these in early October. 

 

Eleanor
 

 

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6 hours ago, galeforce9 said:

Hi Julie

 

Then I recommend Sea Lion Island in the Falklands.  I took these in early October. 

 

Eleanor

 

 

Oh my Eleanor,  

 

We have an island just off the coast here called Carnac island where you can see huge sea lions and the instructions are to never get between them and the sea. Your photos demonstrate why that is sage advice.

 

Julie

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On 1/22/2020 at 4:17 PM, frantic36 said:

I am definitely going to time my Antarctica cruise around young penguins there. The Venture sailings do go to South Georgia in mid February as well so hopefully there will still be some young penguins maybe just more developed then the fluff.

 

We sailed to Antarctica/South Georgia in '97 on a 125-pax expedition ship.  In early/mid Dec, we saw several penguin species with eggs and a few with chicks.  King Penguins with chicks and Oakum Boys (teenagers) at Salisbury Plain; Chinstraps with eggs at Cooper Bay & Elephant Island; Gentoos with chicks at King George Island & Cuverville; both Macaronis and Gentoos with chicks at Livingston Island.  This was over 20 years ago so I don't know if the breeding cycles have changed. 

 

We're looking to repeat the experience on Seabourn so I'm also trying to determine the best time to go.  So far, I've found this chart for wildlife on South Georgia:

 

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Friday, January 24, 2020. Neko Harbor

Comedian Fred Klett was hilarious, best I have seen on a cruise ship.

 

Our arrival at Neko this morning was announced by the sound of the bow thrusters. I took the elevator up to the Observation Bar, don't tell Mrs. Whogo. Our time ashore features a 300' climb, I will save my energy for that. The view from the Observation Bar was of ocean, floating ice, and fog. No land in sight. The crew launched a couple of zodiacs, we'll see what is in store.

 

I came into the cabin the other day and something smelled hot. I checked for smoke, checked the computer, checked the camera battery charger, all okay. Mrs. Whogo had turned the thermostat way up. The cabin had been holding a uniform 71° or 72°, but Mrs. Whogo had felt a chill, 71° was suddenly no longer adequate. She cranked up the heat. Anyone else married to a woman?

 

Successful dining room breakfast this morning, I had maple syrup on my waffles without getting my fingers sticky. My butter knife and the table cloth were not as fortunate. My first order of English bacon came in a four slice serving, we have a baseline standard.

 

A Colonnade supervisor said that the sweetener is Stevia, I never heard of it. Brent Houston said that for big male elephant seals, early is better at South Georgia, September or October. Right now is a good time to see penguin chicks there.

 

Our 11:00 journey to shore was delayed by a half hour. Dandy looking place once the fog lifted, steep hills, some steep, bare mountain sides, plenty of snow and glaciers. An iceberg which had had a flat top had tilted 90 degrees and looked like a half dome mountain.

 

Stepped out of the zodiac into ankle deep water, the shore was pebbly. Dropped off our life vests and took off all the clothes I could, should have just worn a shirt and unlined Gore-Tex jacket. It was 40°F and we faced a steep climb up the hill.

 

A Weddell Seal was resting right near our landing spot, gentoo penguins were entering and exiting the water. They are fun to watch waddle along with their wings back. We started up the trail with our walking poles, they were of no use to me going up. One switchback and we were at another group of penguins, did not see any chicks that were as old as at the day before yesterday at Waterboat Point. Someone mentioned that two downy chicks nestled at an adult's feet make it look like the adult is wearing furry slippers. Did not see any sheathbills here, although a skua flew around. Did not see the skua grab a meal. Fellow cruisers were rooting for the penguins, but I figure the skuas have their part to play.

 

The walk up was a bit of a challenge due to the snow, sometimes slippery, sometimes unexpectedly soft.

 

Continued up the trail to a higher lookout point. What had been nice and clear was now foggy, I could no longer see the ship. I saw a brown skua with its chick there, barely got the two in the photo frame, my blasted point and shoot camera's screen is too dim to properly frame things. I waited as long as I could for the view to clear, never could see the ship from this point. The walk down was less strenuous. I am surprised I did not end up on my rear, the walking poles might have been some help.

 

The instructions for the adjustable walking poles could be phrased like this:

  1. Unlatch the locking mechanism and adjust to proper length.

  2. Tighten the screw.

  3. Latch the locking mechanism. If the latch breaks, you tightened the screw too tightly.

  4. Lean on the poles with your body 45° from the perpendicular. If you fall on your face, you did not tighten the screw enough.

 

Again, the lookout point was only 300 feet above sea level, still enough to leave my legs with some aches and pains. Ninety minutes ashore and it was back to the ship, good excursion.

 

Sighted some humpback whales at tea time from the Observation Bar. Then, figuring that some warm, wet heat would be just the thing for my aching muscles, I took the plunge, the Polar Plunge. I jumped into the frigid Antarctic waters with more than fifty other guests. People that know what a crazy risk taker I am will not be surprised.

 

The biggest surprise to this kid from the Midwest? The thing I was not expecting? The taste of saltwater, was not thinking of that at all. It was cold, bit of a jolt. I did not linger in the water, climbed right out. I warmed quickly. We jumped in one at a time after a body recovery line was fastened around our middles. A good time was had by all.

 

 

 

 

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Wow, they did the PLUNGE again this trip. It was supposedly the first time last voyage that they had done it. 

We had 61 brave souls take the plunge whilst we enjoyed our time in the hot tub on the bow.

 

 

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Saturday, January 25, 2020. Cierva Cove.

 

Seabourn does not announce our next stop in Antarctica until the 6:30 briefing in the Grand Salon. Seems childish of them not to announce Plan A days in advance, with the understanding that plans can change. In his afternoon PA reminder to attend the 6:30 briefing, expedition leader Chris will only give a teaser. Childish. It would have been nice to read up on chinstrap penguins before entering their territory, but we have about a half hour between the briefing and dinner and about a half hour between dinner and the 9:45 show. I do not feel like doing research at 11:00 at night.

 

Dined at a table hosted by Learning and Development Manager Hannah Ashby last night, all of us were from the USA, we do appreciate the hosted tables. New crew spend a twenty day internship onboard, sometimes they find out that the job is not for them. Hanna mentioned a woman who discovered she was claustrophobic. Hanna did not mention that some of the interns are not suitable for Seabourn. A table mate was the man who convinced me to do the polar plunge. I have forgiven him.

 

Rogerio Tutti gave an incredible performance on the piano. He played difficult pieces by Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Gershwin and more. I was amazed, although I admit to lacking the musical ability to give informed opinion. I thought the canned orchestral music he sometimes used sounded too canned. He will perform with the band in a few days.

 

I listened to a few numbers by the piano bar entertainer before going to bed.

 

Weather at Cierva Cove this morning was similar to the last couple of days, temperature above freezing, 29°F, calm wind and seas. A few large snowflakes fell. Clouds hid all but the lowest elevations. Icebergs in all their shapes and sizes abounded and the red buildings of the Argentine base came into view. They have painted the Argentine flag on the side of a building, wonder if it is bigger than their rivals' painted Chilean flag at Waterboat Point.

 

Full English breakfast is not listed on the menu, I cobbled together a gut busting one. The banger was sausage links. “May we see if the Colannade has pork sausage, Mr. Whogo?” The beans came in a full soup plate instead of a little ramekin. Did not count the English bacon slices, but however many more than one they served was too many. Four waitstaff plus the hostess served their sole customer, me, until a couple came in at 8:30.

 

We have mastered dressing for our outings. I keep my long underwear, hat, wool socks, and gloves in my backpack. My waterproof pants, coat and undercoat are on a hanger in the closet. Then I dress on the balcony to avoid overheating. Works great for me.

 

Our guide/zodiac driver provided excellent commentary and touring. Unfortunately, our fellow guests were the noisy fifth graders our last guide was created for. I will say no more about them. Our first closeup was for a cathedral like iceberg, huge, with a cave carved into it, beautiful blue. Next stop, a little dome of an iceberg with a few penguins, new species for us, chinstrap penguins. We saw any number of them swimming and leaping in flocks, herds, schools or whatever the term is. We have not seen the gentoo penguins swimming in such numbers as these Chinstrap. Chinstrap penguins are prey to leopard seals and orcas.

 

Slowly circled an island with chinstrap colonies on them, they nest high up, as high as 330 feet. Fun to watch them, they are not the best climbers or descenders. Have not seen a penguin slide on his belly.

 

Water temperature was 34 degrees.

 

Came across an iceberg with a few Antarctic Shag, aka Blue-Eyed Shag, saw a few of them flying, too. Our guide showed us some ice he had gathered. New glacier ice is white, it turns blue as pressure forces out the air and the oldest ice, which maybe centuries old, is clear.

 

We got close to an interesting blue iceberg with a hole carved through it, saw a bit of the Quest through it, managed a photo. As we were riding away the glacier flipped and spun around, pretty neat to see a second iceberg flip. Parts fell off it, it ended up being an uninteresting berg.

 

We saw no whales or seals, other groups have not seen much, great outing though.

 

Caviar On Ice lived up to its name, it was nasty cold and windy near the pool. We had plain caviar on toast. I thought the caviar was flavorless. We were not interested in champagne or vodka and left in a hurry. The cruise directed announced Caviar On Ice and later reminded us of the expedition team's recap and briefing, both PA announcements were an unnecessary interruptions, there are too many announcements for a luxury line with literate passengers. I have never seen a cruise director who did not love the sound of his own voice.

 

We learned from our last visit to The Grill and ordered more sensibly. Mrs. Whogo had caesar salad prepared table side and lobster thermidor with the creamy stuff on the side. I had the gulf prawn cocktail and a beautifully prepared two inch thick Wagyu beef tenderloin. Mrs. Whogo thought she'd have the tenderloin next time. We finished with lemon meringue tarts for both of us. Music is soft enough that I have to strain to hear it. We have experienced no attitude from the staff, both experiences have been pleasant.

 

She has an excellent voice, but I will skip tonight's show featuring assistant cruise director Daniella Beck.

 

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Sunday, January 26, 2020. Brown Bluff, Antarctica

 

We received certificates suitable for framing stating that we had reached 65°06.4's 164°02.2'W. I thought I would receive a similar certificate for the polar plunge.

 

The Quest does not broadcast the Recap with the Expedition Team live, that would be too convenient for her customers. Supposed to be available later, I found the following channels:

MSNBC

Fox News

CNBC

Sky News

BBC World

ITV

Prime One

MTN-TV (currently showing a test pattern)

The Seabourn Experience

Sport 24

Australia News

Sky Sports News

FTL German

Bow Camera

Stern Camera

Navigation (position, course, speed, etc.)

 

Guest services walked me through the process to view the recap and briefing.

 

Brown Bluff is the best. If this had been our first stop, I would have been disappointed by the rest. We have not seen anything like Brown Bluff, a steep, deteriorating volcano. The ride in was cold, I wore everything I had and was glad I did, 35°F, but breezier than we have had. The beach is described as cobble and ash, didn't notice the ash. Cobbles are just the right word for the rounded stone; baseball sized, golf ball sized and smaller. We landed near a gentoo penguin colony, chicks were old enough to be left alone in a creche with just a few adults. They will bunch together during a skua attack, did not see one, the skuas are kept at bay by the kelp gulls which are not capable of taking these chicks, it is penguin paradise.

 

We were here to see our third penguin species, Adelie, the smallest of the three, identified by its all black head, black tip to its bill, and thin ring of white around the eye. Those going for a swim walked down the waterline single file, grouped together and then entered the water in a rush. This behavior is to avoid leopard seals, one swam down the beach before we were there and kept going. 'Twas a joy to watch. The returning Adelie were noticeably chubbier.

 

We walked up the beach above the high waterline to the Adelie nesting site. Lots of chicks, all looked heavier than adults, some balls of fluff, some almost all feathered except for a mohawk of fluff or a bit of fluff on the back. None of the chicks had an all black head, yet. Chicks chased their parents to be fed, some lucky parents had two chicks pestering them.

 

It's easy to spot the Adelie penguin nesting sites, their guano is pink from their krill diet. Penguin sites were visible all along the hillside, Adelie in pink, gentoo in white.

 

Watched a Adelie penguin add pebbles to his pile, not sure the nesting behavior was appropriate, chicks no longer stay on nests and there is no breeding now. Wondered if this was an immature or a penguin that had lost its chick. I would have gladly watched penguins beyond the 90 minutes we were allowed.

 

A fifteen foot tall rock at our landing spot was home to a kelp gull nest, we saw both adults and at least two fluffy chicks. We were on the last zodiac back, our driver had to slow for penguins passing in front.

 

Brown Bluff landings are rare, the beach is frequently blocked by ice. All four kayak excursions were cancelled. Perfect day with the wildlife

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6 hours ago, Kauaijim said:

Great stop, two years ago we saw a seal take a penguin , which sent the remainder in the water scattering everywhere . It’s fun reading your stuff and enjoy the trip North to the mainland which can be !! 


We must have been on the exact same cruise, February 2017.  I have a pretty horrific photo of a fountain of red splashing up from the ocean.  What a moment. 

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Floris , we were in the same wing by the Observation Lounge . Helen and I had dinner a few times with you and shared some interesting conversations. I did not take pictures of the seal attack but have good ones of the Orcas having a lunch of Minka whale . That was our last SB trip , still looking for the right itinerary. 

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Grouch, I have enjoyed every post you have made.  I love every live on the ship report that is offered.  Yours is enhanced with your sense of humor.  My husband and I would enjoy meeting you on a future cruise--even if you are not the right kind of person.  Thank you for the effort you have put forth to share with us.  

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Monday, January 27, 2020. Drake Passage en route to Falkland Islands

 

Lazy afternoon, yesterday., no luck whale spotting. Brent Houston's Adelie penguin talk was the highlight of the recap and briefing.

 

We dined at a window table for two and we skipped the evening entertainment.

 

I was out on deck early, but too late for the beaked whale spotting. Oh, sure, now the sun comes out. Would have been nice to see Antarctica under clears skies for a couple of minutes.

 

We had it easy in sheltered Antarctica waters. We are rolling and pitching in the Drake Passage. I was lulled to sleep by the rise and fall of our bow cabin, we are being cautious on our feet. What was a level walk yesterday is suddenly an uphill and downhill walk. Only thing to do is imagine you are on a carnival ride and enjoy it.

 

Galley Market Lunch, as it was called, was a buffet set up in the kitchen and eaten in the dining room. Good food, I am not a fan of buffets. The line moved slowly, regular dining room service was curtailed and The Colonnade was closed and I did not learn anything about food preparation in the galley.

 

Seabourn has quit providing bottled water in single use plastic bottles. I saw the reusable plastic bottles in dishwasher racks in the galley. I would guess that the bottles are cleaned like all the other dishes. The debate can continue on whether or not Seabourn is poisoning us with the new bottles.

 

Will Wagstaff's talk about birds of the Falklands and a few other species was excellent. My note taking ability was not up to the task.

 

Dined at a table hosted by Toby Stephenson, the whale guy, with good company, will skip tonight's show by the singers and dancers. The ship has run out of paper napkins.

 

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13 hours ago, Kauaijim said:

Floris , we were in the same wing by the Observation Lounge . Helen and I had dinner a few times with you and shared some interesting conversations. I did not take pictures of the seal attack but have good ones of the Orcas having a lunch of Minka whale . That was our last SB trip , still looking for the right itinerary. 


Ah! I know precisely who you are now 🙂 Nice to reconnect!  Please give my regards to Helen.  Hopefully we cross paths again someday soon!

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The Quest appears to be on a rather unusual course right now, still south of the Falklands but sailing to the west of them, as if it intends going directly to Uruguay without stopping.  Or maybe they have time in hand (having lost a day after Ushuaia) and will spend two days there. The earlier cruise charted a totally different course - in a direct line from Antarctica to Stanley which is on the eastern edge of the archipelago.  Looking forward to our nightly briefing from whogo . . . . 

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3 hours ago, whogo said:

We are headed to New Island at the extreme west of the islands. Zodiacs start loading at 11 AM, a nice surprise addition to our itinerary. More later.

 

Wow!  I regard New Island as the very finest wildlife encounter I've ever had - albatrosses literally walked across my body as I sat in the tussock grass and many penguins, such a beautiful place.  Hope it turns out well for you.

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On 1/27/2020 at 5:28 PM, buchhalm said:

I vote for "Cruise Report of the Year" for The Grouch

 

 

Can I second that, really enjoyed reading your  reviews well done and loved your sense of humor 

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uesday, January 28, 2020. New Island, Falkland Islands

 

We have rolled and pitched a bit since leaving Antarctica, but we dodged worse. Captain Eldering ordered full speed ahead to avoid high winds and seas, 17 knots instead of the 12 knots it would have taken to reach Port Stanley on time. The extra speed allowed Seabourn to add a stop at tiny New Island in the far west of the Falklands.

 

The sun was out today, have not seen it for a long while. I don't remember the Falklands having steep cliffs, might be my memory, might be that Stanley and its environs don't have them. The sail in to New Island was wonderful, birdwatcher heaven. A small rock island had a bunch of seals, I thought they were fur seals, Luciano said they were South American seals. Saw a lot of shags, one definitely a rock shag with red on its cheeks.

 

The thick billed hawk like bird was a striated caracara. The Quest dropped anchor at 10:09 local time, the first of five groups boarded zodiacs at 11:00. We took it easy onboard until our turn at 2:00. Outside temperature was 55°F. Clothing decisions were difficult, I wore Gore-Tex pants, the Seabourn waterproof outer jacket and the rented boots and did not get overheated.

 

The zodiac dropped us off on a sandy beach in a wet landing. We walked up a gentle hill to the so called amphitheater, a cliff on the west side of the island. The cliffs and hillsides were covered with nesting birds. The big draw for us was the rockhopper penguins, our third new penguin species on this trip, cute little things with yellow eye tufts, look up a photo of them. Their chicks were still black and white fluffy things, old enough not to need constant adult supervision, groups of them were in creches.

 

Black-browed albatross nested among the rockhoppers. These albatross build a mud pot nest, kind of neat looking things, maybe 8” tall, cylindrical with a concave top. The albatross chicks were whitish with those big long albatross beaks. Also nesting there were Antarctic shag, also known as blue-eyed shag. A striated caracara walked through the nest site, hoping to grab something. The chicks kept an eye on him, the albatross chicks clacked their bills at him and no one turned their backs on him.

 

Waves crashing on the rocks below would occasionally toss up a rockhopper or two who faced a long climb up the cliff, don't know how they made it so far or how they survived the crashing waves. Others were headed out to sea. I could have watched for hours more.

 

A black-browed albatross landed right in front of me. It is an immense bird with a long beak and that beautiful brow line. You ought to see them soar. What a great way to spend an afternoon. I spotted a long tailed meadowlark on the walk back to the landing, it posed on a fencepost to show off its iridescent red breast.

 

An incredible number of species were near the zodiac landing site, the neatest to me were the oystercatchers with their long, narrow, orange beak contrasting with their black feathers. A local pointed out the little dark-faced ground tyrant, the Falkland thrush and the family of ruddy headed geese, they were not ruddy headed at all. I ID'd the flightless steamer ducks on my own, they have a distinctive way of traveling on the water. There were also a pair of crested ducks. I was on the last zodiac back to the ship, thoroughly pleased with my time ashore.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2020. Port Stanley, Falkland Islands

 

Seabourn Club Representative Herman Pieters hosted our dining table last night, we had congenial table mates and I had delicious, rare lamb loin. Skipped the entertainment to prepare for our early morning tour.

 

We took the first tender ashore, met Patrick Watts who assigned us a 4x4 with fellow CC'er Pat driven by driver/guide Jeff and we headed in a convoy to Volunteer Point. After a brief time on good asphalt we turned onto a good gravel road. After a biological stop we drove off road over rough terrain. I was amazed at the ruts the 4x4 could handle. With great scenery we did not mind the long, bouncy ride. Gently rolling prairie hills have rock outcroppings and we passed a number of stone runs, places where rough red boulders, now gray with lichen, poke through the surface, bigger rocks on top. There are whole grand vistas of these stone runs, I will have to read up on how they are formed.

 

Our convoy stopped to help a stranded vehicle with a damaged oil filter from an earlier convoy. One of our vehicles had a spare oil filter, one had the required oil. Took the drivers no time at all to make the repairs.

 

Our goal was the king penguin colony at Volunteer Point. We pulled into a parking area covered with Land Rovers, might have been fifty of them. I should have taken a picture. We went past a colony of burrowing Magellanic penguins and then some of our old friends the gentoo. We walked to the beach to see penguins entering and exiting the water. Watched a group of five king penguins walk to the shore and stop, don't know how they finally decide to quit gazing at the waves in quiet contemplation and to wade in, but when one does the rest follow. The king are large penguins with a white vest, gray back, and brilliant orange patches just behind their black head. Most have their heads hunched down on their shoulders, but they can extend them maybe six inches into a long, graceful neck, reminded me of Spielberg's E.T. The penguin looks even taller when they point their long bills up and vocalize. Their 'song' sounds like they are unsuccessfully trying to get the melody of String of Pearls on a baritone kazoo. There was not much action on the beach, although this guy from the Midwest was happy to watch the waves crash in and I did see my first two-banded plovers.

 

Lots of adults standing around the nesting colony, took us a long time to see the fluffy gray chicks under them, they were well sheltered from the wind. There was not much action here, either, I did not see any adults return to the nest or any feeding and I only had one good look at a chick. I did see some territorial squabbles as an adult wandered through too close to nesting penguins.

 

The bouncy ride back was just as enjoyable, briefly enlivened by a stuck 4x4. The guys had him pulled out in a jiffy and managed not to look over their shoulders and give advice.

 

We returned to the ship and stowed our cold weather gear, should not need rubber boots or long underwear. Attended British Pub Night in The Club, enjoyed the music, the show room vocalists sang solos with The Band.

 

We were last minute substitute guests for a repeat hosted dinner with Rogerio Tutti, excellent food and conversation once again. Comedian Fred Klett had us all laughing in his second show of the cruise. Good, busy day.

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