Happy Christmas – I probably won’t get to update this again until just into the New Year, so let me send best wishes now. I’m in Ushuaia, mostly sleeping and recharging batteries (some literal, some metaphorical) before joining the Sea Spirit to go to the South Sandwich Islands with Quark Expeditions.
As you’ll have seen from Caitlin’s post, we had an amazing time on the Hans Hanson, an eighty-foot ex Nowegian Lifeboat run by Dion and Juliette on a trip along with Tom from Cheeseman’s Ecological Safaris.
We were traveling with ten adventurous tourists on a month long expedition from the Falklands to South Georgia and back to access sites we otherwise wouldn’t. The trip was absolutely amazing; breathtaking scenery on South Georgia at that time of year and the arrival of macaroni penguins was something I’ve not seen yet. I can’t thank everyone enough; we achieved so much and it’s going to be a very busy year trying to process all of the data from that trip!
On that note, I’m delighted to see the progress of http://www.penguinwatch.org – it’s storming along!
On return to Stanley, we were picked up by the Ocean Diamond on route back to South Georgia and on to the Antarctic Peninsula. A total of nearly four weeks on South Georgia this year means we were able to achieve an extraordinary amount. Moving from the Hans Hanson to the Ocean Diamond meant that we said goodbye to some friends and were reunited with Woody and the team. We made our first stop this season at Port Lockroy, and it was great to see the girls from Penguin Post office again!
As always, the Ocean Diamond was high energy and it was a struggle to keep up, but we did (just) and have just completed our second trip and downloaded over 200,000 new images from the cameras at about 9 sites. I’m now trying to back all these up in the down time.
So, all is going fantastically well down here! Don’t forget to email us if you’re waiting or would like a post card from Antarctica! We can’t guarantee when it will get to you, but it will reach you!
Next up – South Sandwich! Mike Polito has replaced me on the Sea Spirit, while Gemma Clucas from Southampton University joins me tomorrow to try and go swimming onto the South Sandwich Islands again. We’re looking forward to join Cheli and the team in a couple of days. The South Sandwich Islands are some of the bleakest islands on earth – where better to go and look for penguins?
So, I hope you’re all well, whether you’re cold up there in the north or basking in snowy sunshine in the beautiful south and all the best for the holiday season,