Friday, 7 March 2014

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE WHALE KIND

The last morning before sailing north was spent on one final zodiac cruise,Wilhelmina bay is a whale hot spot because of the high concentrations of krill found here.As well as the whales some of the ice bergs were amazing in shape and colour and seeing a flock of 30 or so storm petrels cleaning up the whales left overs by walking on the water was a superb experience.
HUMPACK TAIL FLUKES are like a humans finger prints and each individual can be identified by them




















 BLUE HAVEN-the colours are real and have not been tweaked
















As you can see we got seriously close to the humpbacks,and if asked to give just one highlight it would have to be this,they were just magnificent creatures.
This was our last zodiac outing and after lunch it was north towards Drakes passage and Argentina,the Antartic odysee was over.
However there was still some fun to be had,I was alone on the after deck when I noticed the ship was changing course so being nosey I had a look to see what was up and  there in the distance was the unmistakeable dorsal fin of a male ORCA.
MALE ORCA

 FEMALE ORCA











As we left the Orcas to their business and got back on track several more small groups of humpbacks were spotted and southern fulmars and chinstrap penguins were seen, the weather was now taking a turn for the worse and as the wind gathered itself the outside doors were locked and we were confined to the observation lounge.
During the night the winds got up to force 9 and the wave heights 8.5 m so as you can imagine there was a lot of pitching ,rolling and banging going on in the dark,at one point there was an alarming bang as the ship crashed in to a huge wave,then all was silent,it was an eerie quiet after all the noise,I even got out of my bunk looked out of the porthole to make sure we were still moving-of course we were.In the morning it was still blowing a hoolie and we in lock down until the afternoon,despite the weather nearly everyone turned up for meals and I didn`t see anyone suffering from mal de mer.Heres a taste of salt water for you.





 MORNING HAS BROKEN -BUT THE SHIPS OK-VIEW FROM THE PORT HOLE.
Eventually we got through the storm and the waters calmed down enough to venture outside,soon joined by albatross,petrel and shearwater as we got closer to land.
 WHITE CHINNED PETREL

 GIANT PETREL

 BLACK BROWED ALBATROSS












 GREAT SHEARWATER

 GREAT SHEARWATER








 ROYAL ALBATROSS

 ROYAL ALBATROSS














 SOOTY SHEARWATERS were very common here but did not come very close to the ship


 The silvery underwing shows clearly in sunlight.
 GIANT PETREL-JUVENILE

 SOOTY SHEARWATER


 MAGELLANIC PENGUINS IN THE BEAGLE CHANNEL





DUSKY DOLPHINS.
The Plancius had to anchor at the pilot station overnight,so everyone enjoyed a quiet night and in the morning Ushuia was in sight and the trip was almost at an end.

Hope the blog has given you a taste of the Antartic and its wild treasures,if you get the chance to go on the Plancius with Oceanwide Expeditions do not hesitate it was my trip of a lifetime.

3 comments:

  1. Fantastic photos Phil and quite an adventure well done you... One day eh!!!!

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  2. Phil, a great read and it’s been enjoyable following your exploits aboard The Plancius. I found the Humpback Whale tail shots superb, and as you say, an obvious highlight from your jolly. Not too sure I could cope with a force 9 in lock down mode aboard a tub miles from home though but the image opportunities would probably sway it for me.

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  3. Phil, just like Steve A the blog has been a great read and at times felt that I was there. However I know that the thought of a force 9 would put me off although I have to agree seeing those Tail flukes would undoubtedly be an experience not to be forgotten.

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