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Embarkation

Northern Giant Petrel
Northern Giant Petrel
Under the command of a pilot we headed out of port and east into the Beagle Channel, bound for the Falkland Islands. Meanwhile, we gathered for dinner and our first presentation by the expedition staff. And we were told that we should prepare for weather once the pilot disembarked and we entered the South Atlantic. I'm fortunate in that I don't get seasick, so the ocean conditions didn't trouble me. Attendance at meals throughout the first full day at sea, however, was somewhat limited. And the conditions were challenging for photography. I was able to get some reasonable photos of Northern Giant Petrels (yes, ''northern,'' - we were in Antarctica before we saw any Southern Giant Petrels), Black-browed Albatross and Southern Royal Albatross, along with a storm petrel - how do such small birds survive in the open ocean? I say ''reasonable photos,'' and in the edited format they are, but in the unedited versions the horizons were often 20 or 30 degrees off horizontal, the result of the motion of the ship through the wind and waves. The conditions made it impossible to stand on the foredeck but I was able to find some spots near the stern from which to observe and photograph, and spent almost every available moment there. The ocean is a special place, particularly in heavy weather.

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