Monthly Archives

April 2010

Drygalski Fjord, South Georgia Island

South Georgia Island, Southern Ocean

Photos of Drygalski Fjord, South Georgia Island

The weather today continued to turn for the worse after we departed Godthul, so a decision was made to travel to Drygalski Fjord at the south end of South Georgia Island in lieu of an afternoon land visit. So, after lunch and a few few hours of travel down the coast of the island, we found ourselves sailing into the narrow gorge that is Drygalski Fjord. The fjord pierces the island dramatically, cutting deep into the interior. High peaks, of which we could occasionally get glimpses through the heavily overcast skies, tower above. As we approached the terminus of the fjord, we found the water clogged with brash ice. Occasional small chunks would calve from Risting Glacier, the obvious source of all the floating ice. It was beautiful. At one point a “shooter” broke the surface with a big splash, and its wave cleared an opening in the brash ice. A “shooter” is a chunk of ice calved off the submarine portion of the glacier, sometimes very deep, which then accelerates as it floats upward to the surface. By its very nature, a shooter is a complete surprise and can easily damage a boat, so the captain kept a safe distance from the Risting Glacier.

M/V Polar Star approaches Jenkins Glacier (left), Risting Glacier (center) and a third glacier (right) at the end of Drygalski Fjord

M/V Polar Star approaches Jenkins Glacier (left), Risting Glacier (center) and a third glacier (right) at the end of Drygalski Fjord.
Image ID: 24688
Location: Drygalski Fjord, South Georgia Island

Drygalski Fjord, passengers on icebreak M/V Polar Star.  The water is packed with brash ice which has broken away from Risting Glacier at the end of the narrow fjord

Drygalski Fjord, passengers on icebreak M/V Polar Star. The water is packed with brash ice which has broken away from Risting Glacier at the end of the narrow fjord.
Image ID: 24684
Location: Drygalski Fjord, South Georgia Island

Drygalski Fjord, packed with brash ice which has broken away from Risting Glacier at the end of the narrow fjord

Drygalski Fjord, packed with brash ice which has broken away from Risting Glacier at the end of the narrow fjord.
Image ID: 24743
Location: Drygalski Fjord, South Georgia Island

Next: Cooper Bay, South Georgia Island
Previous: Godthul, South Georgia Island
Trip Index: Cheesemans Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia
All “Southern Ocean” entries

Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve SNR

California, Wildflowers

California Poppy photos (Eschscholzia californica) at the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, in Lancaster, California.

With Amanda and Tracy in Kansas City at a Volleyball National Qualifier tournament, Sarah and I had the weekend to ourselves — with absolutely nothing planned. This is unprecedented. We took advantage of it by making a quickie road trip to the Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve, in Lancaster, California. Poppies don’t open up until the sun has had a chance to warm them, so we were in no hurry, stopping for mandatory roadtrip breakfast at Denny’s on the way. Sarah particularly liked the surprise I had waiting for her: a brand new iPad with a couple of her favorite movies already on it, along with an eBook (she had to read for 30 minutes for each hour of movie watching). We reached Lancaster about 9am and went straight to the Reserve. We saw bugs, live lizards, dead lizards and more California poppies than you can shake a stick at. No snakes! After the Reserve we did a bit of exploring on the dirt roads around Lancaster, going in a ways from the paved roads and crowds, looking for that perfect field of poppies through which we could frolick and sing “The hills are alive, with the Sound of Music…” in our lederhosen and brilliant Austrian smiles. We met up with old diving and photography friends, Bruce and Jo, who were making a similar loop as we but in the opposite direction. (Bruce’s great advice the week before about where to look for the thickest poppy areas was part of the reason we decided to make the trip to Lancaster in the first place — thanks Bruce!). Following lunch in Gorman, we made our way into Hollywood for a stop at the grandparents for some gelato and a chance to make our own Avatar photos at the movie theatre. Home by 7pm, Leucadia Pizzeria delivery, crashola.

California poppies, wildflowers blooming in huge swaths of spring color in Antelope Valley, Eschscholzia californica, Eschscholtzia californica, Lancaster

California poppies, wildflowers blooming in huge swaths of spring color in Antelope Valley.
Image ID: 25223
Species: California poppy, Eschscholzia californica, Eschscholtzia californica
Location: Lancaster, California, USA

California poppies, hillside of brilliant orange color, Lancaster, CA, Eschscholzia californica, Eschscholtzia californica, Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve SNR

California poppies, hillside of brilliant orange color, Lancaster, CA.
Image ID: 25228
Species: California poppy, Eschscholzia californica, Eschscholtzia californica
Location: Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve SNR, Lancaster, USA

Me in a field of poppies, confused, trying to figure out which one to put in the center of my photograph, Lancaster, CA; photo by Bruce Wight

Me in a field of poppies, confused, trying to figure out which one to put in the center of my photograph, Lancaster, CA; photo by Bruce Wight

Camo for my next photo assignment on planet Pandora.

Camo for my next photo assignment on planet Pandora.

Godthul, South Georgia Island

Penguin, South Georgia Island, Southern Ocean

Photos of Godthul and Gentoo Penguins, South Georgia Island

Our plans to visit St. Andrews Bay this morning are scuttled. There is a strong SE wind that is sending big waves onto the beach at St. Andrews making a landing ill-advised. We move north a short ways to Godthul and find the conditions are calm enough to land, so after breakfast we do. Godthul, named “Good Hollow” by the Norwegian whalers who once anchored here, is a well protected bay surrounded on several sides by steep grassy slopes and the omnipresent South Georgia snow-covered mountains. There are kelp beds along some of the shoreline. We land at a derelict old whaling facility. There some small old buildings, in, on and under which fur seals are lounging — they appear to have reclaimed this area now that the whalers who used to maintain a floating processing platform here in the early 1900’s have long since departed.

View of Godthul, from the grassy slopes of South Georgia.  The name Godthul, or "Good Hollow", dates back to Norwegian whalers who used this bay as a anchorage

View of Godthul, from the grassy slopes of South Georgia. The name Godthul, or “Good Hollow”, dates back to Norwegian whalers who used this bay as a anchorage.
Image ID: 24745
Location: Godthul, South Georgia Island

The beach here is narrow and long, littered with decaying old whale bones, and is populated by Southern Elephant Seals (Mirounga leonina), King Penguins (Aptenodytes patagonicus) and Antarctic Fur Seals (Arctocephalus gazella). There are enough elephant seals and fur seals to make walking the length of the beach difficult, so after a short while I elect to head up the bluff to see the plateau above. The bluff is choked with tussac grass, and many fur seals, so many that finding a path through the waist-high grass without getting bitten is a challenge. I take it slow, making sure there is no fur seal laying under a tuft of grass where I am about to step. After some time I am through the tussac grass maze and onto the higher ground, which is clear and easy walking. Some Gentoo Penguins (Pygoscelis papua) are descending from the plateau, a clue that there must be a colony above.

Gentoo penguin stealing nesting material, moving it from one nest (hidden behind the clump on the left) to its nest on the right.  Snow falling, Pygoscelis papua, Godthul

Gentoo penguin stealing nesting material, moving it from one nest (hidden behind the clump on the left) to its nest on the right. Snow falling.
Image ID: 24721
Species: Gentoo penguin, Pygoscelis papua
Location: Godthul, South Georgia Island

Gentoo penguin, walking through tall grass, snow falling, Pygoscelis papua, Godthul

Gentoo penguin, walking through tall grass, snow falling.
Image ID: 24722
Species: Gentoo penguin, Pygoscelis papua
Location: Godthul, South Georgia Island

I go higher and as the terrain begins to flatten, sure enough I find the first of several gentoo colonies, set on a spectacular expanse of open land, with broad views of the ocean and bay below and mountains above. The colony is totally exposed to weather but high enough above the beach that there is no risk to the gentoos from aggressive fur seals. I think I can hear the sharp calls of terns echoing off the sides of the mountains, and see some small white birds flittering about in the distance. I walk further until the land crests to a plateau and am pleased to find a lake set below the steep snow-covered flanks of the peaks above. The lake is wide and appears shallow and has several small groups of gentoos nesting around it, and swimming in it. Then gentoos enter the water dirty and emerge clean and white. Beyond the lake the mountains rise steeply, and a waterfall of perhaps 400-500’ drops from the cloud-strewn heights. I settle down beside one gentoo colony for 90 minutes or so, laying in the grass and watching their activities at the nest. There are some courtship displays (I think that’s what I am observing) and there is much nest building and tending. Some penguins walk to and from the lake, while others head off down the hills to the ocean. A few gentoos stay beside their humble nests and then, when noone else is looking, brazenly steal nesting material from their colony-mates and add it to their own nest. I realize this is one of those seminal moments were all have when travelling: here I am, laying down in soaking wet grass, freezing my ass off, thousands of miles from home, trying to make photos with wet gear, laughing at the seemingly comic behaviors of the stout little penguins that are going about their business as if I am not even there. I attempt to videotape the scene but not sure whether I succeeded, the sound of wind and snow is filling the microphone. The weather is now pretty grim again, but not yet harsh enough that we must leave. The wind blows snow sideways one minute, then abates letting the snow fall softly the next. After some time my fingers are too cold to operate my camera. I pack up my gear and head down to the beach, choosing the wrong path several times before finally finding the route that has few enough fur seals that I can get back to the zodiac. I’m the last passenger on board, ready for lunch.

Gentoo penguins, calling, heads raised, Pygoscelis papua, Godthul

Gentoo penguins, calling, heads raised.
Image ID: 24690
Species: Gentoo penguin, Pygoscelis papua
Location: Godthul, South Georgia Island

Next: Drygalski Fjord, South Georgia Island
Previous: Prion Island, South Georgia Island
Trip Index: Cheesemans Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia
All “Southern Ocean” entries

Prion Island, South Georgia Island

Albatross, South Georgia Island, Southern Ocean

Photos of Nesting Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans) on Prion Island, South Georgia Island

We wait out the bad weather that arrived while we were on Salisbury Plain on the icebreaker M/V Polar Star, which is anchored in the lee of a nearby small island. Although the weather is cold, dark and snowing, it is also gradually improving. A warm and hearty lunch, and some time reading a book, recharges me after the cold morning and I am hopeful we make another landing today in spite of the weather. After dinner, Ted Cheeseman makes the decision to go ashore at Prion Island to see nesting Wandering Albatross (Diomedea exulans).

Wandering albatross, on nest and the Prion Island colony.  The wandering albatross has the largest wingspan of any living bird, with the wingspan between, up to 12' from wingtip to wingtip. It can soar on the open ocean for hours at a time, riding the updrafts from individual swells, with a glide ratio of 22 units of distance for every unit of drop. The wandering albatross can live up to 23 years. They hunt at night on the open ocean for cephalopods, small fish, and crustaceans. The survival of the species is at risk due to mortality from long-line fishing gear, Diomedea exulans

Wandering albatross, on nest and the Prion Island colony. The wandering albatross has the largest wingspan of any living bird, with the wingspan between, up to 12′ from wingtip to wingtip. It can soar on the open ocean for hours at a time, riding the updrafts from individual swells, with a glide ratio of 22 units of distance for every unit of drop. The wandering albatross can live up to 23 years. They hunt at night on the open ocean for cephalopods, small fish, and crustaceans. The survival of the species is at risk due to mortality from long-line fishing gear.
Image ID: 24428
Species: Wandering albatross, Diomedea exulans
Location: Prion Island, South Georgia Island

We had seen Wandering Albatross in flight over the open ocean when we made our crossing from the Falklands to South Georgia, but since then I had not seen one. Wanderers have the greatest wingspan of any bird, up to 12′ from wing tip to wing tip. They are at their most impressive when in flight. The birders on the trip are eager to see more of them, and consider the Wandering Albatross a very special bird. Only small groups of visitors are permitted, and only on a restricted walking path, to avoid disturbing these highly endangered birds. It is dark, and stormy looking, but the seas are reasonably calm and we experience an easy zodiac ride and landing. Once ashore, a short walk amid fur seals brings us to the summit of the small island. A dozen or so nesting albatrosses are seen, including one which is only about 10’ from the walkway. My long lens, brought in anticipation of more distant nests, is overkill but at least I get some tight portraits of the huge, snow-white seabird. In spite of being in the presence of these noble albatrosses, the condition make Prion Island seem forlorn to me right now. Snow patches surround the albatrosses, wet snow falls occasionally, the wind is blowing and the skies are dark and ominous. If I had to stay here with the gear I have with me I would die in a few days. These elegant birds are incredibly hardy.

Next: Godthul, South Georgia Island
Previous: Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island
Trip Index: Cheesemans Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia
All “Southern Ocean” entries

A Breath-Holding Exercise for Water Photographers

Photography, Wisdom

I finish my swim workouts with a few minutes of active breathholding exercises which I feel make me a better waterman and a better photographer. Photographers working in or under the water must often deal with chaotic, stressful or just plain physically demanding situations. I have found that being able to better control my heartrate and breathing in such situations really helps me to keep my focus and hopefully come away with a photograph I am proud of. I thought about this today during my swim (just a few minutes ago) and decided to jot this down while I had some clarity of thought, before all that highly oxygenated blood that is buzzing through my brain departs for my belly when I eat lunch.

The Prelude: After a full swim workout, one’s heart is tick-tick-ticking away with optimal performance, and one’s body is piqued and in a elevated state. That is a perfect time to practice relaxation and breath control. My swim today is an example. I swam, pulled and kicked about 2800 yards, which took me about 45-50 minutes. My hunch is that my heart rate neared its peak after about 8 minutes or so, and that it stayed there through the rest of the swim. After about 12 minutes I really felt “in the zone”, and I stayed there the rest of the way. By the time I finished my heart and breathing were really going. Being able to have some control over them at that point is similar to being able to control them in a stressful situation in the ocean.

The Exercise: Once I’m done with my workout, I hang motionless on the side of the pool and relax for about 2 minutes, staring at the tiles on the edge of the pool. I try to mentally eliminate any distrations and concentrate on lowering my breathing and heart rates. It sounds funny but I honestly feel that I can lower my heartrate just by thinking about it. After a couple minutes of relaxing this way, I will then swim a series of five to eight breathhold cycles (25 yards out, turn, 25 yards back). I will swim out, turn, and swim as far back as is comfortable underwater before rising for a first breath. I then swim the remainder of the cycle slowly on the surface, as relaxed as possible and breathing deeply and easily. I think about my heartrate the whole time, focusing on keeping it slow and easy, and on keeping my entire body relaxed and streamlined. I should stress that I try to remain comfortable doing this. I do not want to push the breath holding too far while swimming underwater, for fear of blacking out and drowning.

Bubble ring

Bubble ring.
Image ID: 06998

I first came up with this technique about 14 years ago, in preparation for a photography assignment where I had keep up with world class swimmers and wild dolphins in open water. These expeditions were repeated about 6 times, plus Skip and I had a series of whale filming and photography shoots during those years as well, so once I started these breathholding exercises I just never stopped. I have kept them essentially unchanged since 1998. I carry out this exercise at the end of all of my swim workouts. While some days I feel and swim better than others, just about every time I practice it I find that on each successive breathhold cycle I can swim further underwater than the cycle before. The entire exercise takes about 8 minutes to complete. My heart rate feels lower each cycle, and my breathing definitely relaxes and slows during the course of the exercise. By the time I get out of the pool, I am very relaxed.

The Payoff: This exercise has a direct application when I am in the water shooting photos. Whether I am in large surf, strong currents, surrounded by a lot of animals, getting bumped or inspected by some big or gnarly animals, or am just in some generally stressful situation, as a result of my pool exercises I am better able to regain my focus, guide my body into a more relaxed state, lower my breathing and heartrate, function more efficiently and with fewer errors, and increase my margin of safely. All of these things also increase the odds that I will emerge from the situation with a good photograph.

Plus it helps you blow good bubble rings underwater.

Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island

Penguin, South Georgia Island, Southern Ocean

Photos of Salisbury Plain and King Penguins in the Bay of Isles, South Georgia Island

Usually I am somewhat reserved in my written descriptions of places and things. In the following post, I am sure I have failed to communicate the profound depth of emotion that I experienced standing beside the King Penguin colony at Salisbury Plain. At times it was just overwhelming for me, all I could do was stand, watch, listen and soak it in. I tried to burn what I saw into my mind, because I realized at the time that what I was seeing was really special, and I did not want to ever forget it. I’ve seen a lot of fantastic natural history in my 20 years as a professional photographer, so when I say that something is a “must see” spectacle I do not say it lightly. Suffice it to say that Salisbury Plain is one of the must-see wildlife spectacles. I can’t wait to return.

This morning the weather is overcast but calm. The light is beautiful. The water is glass smooth and small waves lap along the edges of the Bay of Isles in which we are anchored. Snow-covered mountains line the horizon in almost every direction. We are offshore the long sand beach that fronts famous Salisbury Plain, site of one of the world’s major King Penguin (Aptenodytes patagonicus) colonies. To the left of the plain is Lucas Glacier, to the right Grace Glacier. A quarter of a million king penguins occupy Salisbury Plain, in various stages of nesting, molting, preening and egg laying. There is a constant flow of penguins into and out of the water. A broad plain extends in from the beach on which penguins and fur seals reside. While the fur seals and elephant seals are here in large numbers too, they are simply overwhelmed by the teeming masses of penguins. The king penguin colony itself seems to have fairly distinct margins that can be easily seen from afar, but as one nears the colony the boundary is less easily discerned.

Salisbury Plain on South Georgia Island is home to an immense rookery of King Penguins.  It is a spectacular wildlife location, unequaled in all the world

Salisbury Plain on South Georgia Island is home to an immense rookery of King Penguins. It is a spectacular wildlife location, unequaled in all the world.
Image ID: 24682
Location: Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island

We make a 6am landing and walk across the grassy plain toward the colony. The beach itself is so densely covered with animals that we cannot traverse far on the sand. As we approach the mass of penguins, we take a winding path to avoid the many single and small groups of animals, penguins and seals, that are scattered widely on the fringe of the main colony. There is a deep buzzing sound, separate from the sounds of the individual animals near us. The buzzing is the cacophony of the colony itself, and grows louder as we grow closer. Eventually we find the edge of the colony, and view it from the perimeter, standing in tussoc grass.

King penguin colony. Over 100,000 pairs of king penguins nest at Salisbury Plain, laying eggs in December and February, then alternating roles between foraging for food and caring for the egg or chick, Aptenodytes patagonicus

King penguin colony. Over 100,000 pairs of king penguins nest at Salisbury Plain, laying eggs in December and February, then alternating roles between foraging for food and caring for the egg or chick.
Image ID: 24388
Species: King penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus
Location: Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island

Icebreaker M/V Polar Star anchored in the Bay of Isles,offshore of the vast king penguin colony at Salisbury Plain, Aptenodytes patagonicus

Icebreaker M/V Polar Star anchored in the Bay of Isles,offshore of the vast king penguin colony at Salisbury Plain.
Image ID: 24397
Species: King penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus
Location: Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island

It is a sea of penguins. Adults sitting on eggs (the eggs are not often visible, tucked below the penguin for protection from the cold), adults and juveniles moving toward to the beach or returning to find their spot in the colony after a foraging session at sea, and “oakum boys”, the yearlings that are covered in a thick, light brown plumage that clearly distinguishes them from the adults. The colony occupies a vast area of the plain and also extends up the shoulder of an adjacent hill. I walk to the back of the hill and hike up to the top. I had read that the climb through tussac grass was treacherous and tiring, but in truth the effort is not difficult and I reach the top in 20 minutes or so. The tussac grass on the steeper areas is actually helpful, providing a handhold for balance.

King penguin colony and the Bay of Isles on the northern coast of South Georgia Island.  Over 100,000 nesting pairs of king penguins reside here.  Dark patches in the colony are groups of juveniles with fluffy brown plumage.  The icebreaker M/V Polar Star lies at anchor, Aptenodytes patagonicus, Salisbury Plain

King penguin colony and the Bay of Isles on the northern coast of South Georgia Island. Over 100,000 nesting pairs of king penguins reside here. Dark patches in the colony are groups of juveniles with fluffy brown plumage. The icebreaker M/V Polar Star lies at anchor.
Image ID: 24402
Species: King penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus
Location: Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island

King penguin, mated pair courting, displaying courtship behavior including mutual preening, Aptenodytes patagonicus, Salisbury Plain

King penguin, mated pair courting, displaying courtship behavior including mutual preening.
Image ID: 24438
Species: King penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus
Location: Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island

On the summit, the view is astounding. I can see the entire colony from above. While individual penguins can be discerned in the mass, the impression from here is abstract, a canvas of silver, black and white penguins edged with green tussac grass. Veins of brown flow randomly through the expanse – these are oakum boys congregating in groups distinct from the adults. The Polar Star lies at anchor offshore. I shoot some photos and a few videos. It is now about 9am and the wind has started in earnest. I move to a few different vantages atop the hill to see the colony and surrounding bay and mountains from different angles. The wind increases and snow begins to fall. I’m glad I skipped breakfast and made the early landing, since from the whitecaps in the bay it is clear the visit may be terminated early due to the declining weather. I make my way down to the plain and again stop alongside the colony, listening to the buzzing. I’ve taken plenty of photos, and prefer to just stand here and admire the scene.

Oakum boys, juvenile king penguins at Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island.  Named 'oakum boys' by sailors for the resemblance of their brown fluffy plumage to the color of oakum used to caulk timbers on sailing ships, these year-old penguins will soon shed their fluffy brown plumage and adopt the colors of an adult, Aptenodytes patagonicus

Oakum boys, juvenile king penguins at Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island. Named ‘oakum boys’ by sailors for the resemblance of their brown fluffy plumage to the color of oakum used to caulk timbers on sailing ships, these year-old penguins will soon shed their fluffy brown plumage and adopt the colors of an adult.
Image ID: 24405
Species: King penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus
Location: Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island

Oakum boys, juvenile king penguins at Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island.  Named 'oakum boys' by sailors for the resemblance of their brown fluffy plumage to the color of oakum used to caulk timbers on sailing ships, these year-old penguins will soon shed their fluffy brown plumage and adopt the colors of an adult, Aptenodytes patagonicus

Oakum boys, juvenile king penguins at Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island. Named ‘oakum boys’ by sailors for the resemblance of their brown fluffy plumage to the color of oakum used to caulk timbers on sailing ships, these year-old penguins will soon shed their fluffy brown plumage and adopt the colors of an adult.
Image ID: 24406
Species: King penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus
Location: Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island

Oakum boys and juveniles are curious and often approach within a few feet, standing next to me and looking me over. A couple even give me a soft tap on the leg, flap their wings and cluck softly. I doubt they understand the difficult life that they will undertake soon. I feel priviledged to simply have them appraise me and find me interesting enough to occupy their attention and warrant their approach. By midday it is time to return to the landing. Snow is blowing horizontally and covering my camera to the point I can no longer see through the viewfinder. The staff is challenged to get everyone into zodiacs and through the waves to the boat. It is a wet ride and we take a wave or two over the bow of the small inflatable, but no real danger. Back on board I dry my cameras off and warm up with a hot lunch. It continues to snow, although the wind has lessened. Our afternoon visit to see Wandering Albatross at nearby Prion Island is looking iffy. The serious birders on the trip consider seeing Wanderers a high priority and will be disappointed if we have to scrub it. Perhaps we can go ashore after dinner if the weather improves. All I can say is that the weather here is changeable. We’ll see.

Next: Prion Island, South Georgia Island
Previous: Grytviken, South Georgia Island
Trip Index: Cheesemans Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia
All “Southern Ocean” entries

Grytviken, South Georgia Island

South Georgia Island, Southern Ocean, Time Lapse

Photos of the Grytviken Whaling Station, South Georgia Island

Following our morning at Hercules Bay, we motor during lunch to Cumberland Bay and the whaling settlement of Grytviken. Grytviken lies below – you guessed it – scenic mountains that rise almost straight up. It is insanely windy at times today, and snow flurries fall on and off all afternoon. A visit to the remains of the whaling town, and the museum, is interesting. I finally have a chance to set up my first time lapse shoot of the trip, of clouds moving over the mountains across Cumberland Bay. I find a spot out of the wind in the lee of an overturned boat on the beach, and walk away from my camera as it click-click-clicks away every five seconds. Back in the comfort of the boat, I enjoy a glass of wine with Doug Cheeseman while my camera stays outside in the cold and does it work. We enjoy a fine barbeque on deck tonight. A small group of Grytviken residents, including researchers from the British Antarctic Survey who offered a short presentation earlier in the day, join us. After dark I fetch my camera. The computer stays up all night processing the 2000 images into a short video. It turns out pretty neat!

Mountains, glaciers and ocean, the rugged and beautiful topography of South Georgia Island, Grytviken

Mountains, glaciers and ocean, the rugged and beautiful topography of South Georgia Island.
Image ID: 24580
Location: Grytviken, South Georgia Island

Antarctic fur seals, on tussock grass slopes near Grytviken, Arctocephalus gazella

Antarctic fur seals, on tussock grass slopes near Grytviken.
Image ID: 24414
Species: Antarctic Fur Seal, Arctocephalus gazella
Location: Grytviken, South Georgia Island

Grytviken Chapel, at the old whaling station of Grytviken, South Georgia Island

Grytviken Chapel, at the old whaling station of Grytviken, South Georgia Island.
Image ID: 24415
Location: Grytviken, South Georgia Island

Grytviken whale station, abandoned storage tanks

Grytviken whale station, abandoned storage tanks.
Image ID: 24464
Location: Grytviken, South Georgia Island

Next: Salisbury Plain, South Georgia Island
Previous: Hercules Bay, South Georgia Island
Trip Index: Cheesemans Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia
All “Southern Ocean” entries