Monthly Archives

December 2010

Lemaire Channel, Antarctica

Antarctica, Southern Ocean

Soon after leaving Port Lockroy in our wake, we arrive at the famous Lemaire Channel, noted for its narrow confines and spectacular cliffs rising on each side. About six miles long, the LeMaire Channel takes about one hour to navigate (depending on how much ice is in the channel). Conditions were – surprise! – very cloudy for our passage through the strait. It was nevertheless beautiful, with several sections filled with brash ice and small bergs. We did get a partial sense of the heights and dramatic peaks that rise almost vertically from the edges of the narrow strait but we clearly could not see all the walls and peaks the we knew were hanging above us in the mist. I’ll just have to cross my fingers that it is clear and sunny on my next visit, so I can really appreciate the LeMaire Channel.

Lemaire Channel: mountains, sea, ice and clouds,Antarctica.  The Lemaire Channel, one of the most scenic places on the Antarctic Peninsula, is a straight 11 km long and only 1.6 km wide at its narrowest point

Lemaire Channel: mountains, sea, ice and clouds,Antarctica. The Lemaire Channel, one of the most scenic places on the Antarctic Peninsula, is a straight 11 km long and only 1.6 km wide at its narrowest point.
Image ID: 25602
Location: Lemaire Channel, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

Lemaire Channel: mountains, sea, ice and clouds,Antarctica.  The Lemaire Channel, one of the most scenic places on the Antarctic Peninsula, is a straight 11 km long and only 1.6 km wide at its narrowest point

Lemaire Channel: mountains, sea, ice and clouds,Antarctica. The Lemaire Channel, one of the most scenic places on the Antarctic Peninsula, is a straight 11 km long and only 1.6 km wide at its narrowest point.
Image ID: 25614
Location: Lemaire Channel, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

Next: Peterman Island, Antarctica
Previous: Port Lockroy, Antarctica
Trip Index: Cheesemans Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia
All “Southern Ocean” entries

Port Lockroy, Antarctica

Antarctica, Southern Ocean

Photos of Port Lockroy, Antarctica

It was quite early in the morning that our day began, traveling down the Neumayer Channel to tiny Goudier Island on which the Port Lockeroy base resides. The skies were heavily overcast, so we did not have an opportunity to see the magnificent surroundings that the Neumayer Channel is reputed to offer. (It looks like the weather will remain poor, so our chance to see the Lemaire Channel in all its glory later today is not looking good either.) Port Lockroy is a “living museum”, a former British base, once abandoned but restored in the 90’s by volunteers of the British Antarctic Survey and now tended by four keepers for this season. Port Lockroy offers a look back at what conditions were like for the Brits who manned this small building during World War II. It has never been revealed by the British Government exactly what they were doing on this tiny island during the war, but it is suspected that they were collecting weather data and making foreys through the area looking for enemy naval activity. I bought the girls a few souvenirs at the small gift shop and relaxed watching the penguins on their nests just a few feet from the small buildings that make up Port Lockroy.

Blue whale skeleton in Antarctica, on the shore at Port Lockroy, Antarctica.  This skeleton is composed primarily of blue whale bones, but there are believed to be bones of other baleen whales included in the skeleton as well, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale skeleton in Antarctica, on the shore at Port Lockroy, Antarctica. This skeleton is composed primarily of blue whale bones, but there are believed to be bones of other baleen whales included in the skeleton as well.
Image ID: 25604
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus
Location: Port Lockroy, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

Nearby is another tiny island — Wiencke Island — that we visit to see an old blue whale skeleton, surrounding by yet more penguin colonies. Actually, the skeleton is made up of bones of a number of whale species, including blue whales. Having seen many blue whales near San Diego from my boat, it was nice to walk about this skeleton and admire how large the bones are, especially the jaw bones which, I believe, are the largest bones in the entire animal kingdom. A few penguins walked idly through the assembled skeleton. Winds blew pretty hard and a little rain fell. This particular landing had more penguin aroma than any other in the past several days, and by the time I am done on Wiencke Island my boots were pretty nasty and needed a real cleaning in the ocean before I was able to hop aboard the zodiac for a ride back to the big boat.

Blue whale skeleton in Antarctica, on the shore at Port Lockroy, Antarctica.  This skeleton is composed primarily of blue whale bones, but there are believed to be bones of other baleen whales included in the skeleton as well, Balaenoptera musculus

Blue whale skeleton in Antarctica, on the shore at Port Lockroy, Antarctica. This skeleton is composed primarily of blue whale bones, but there are believed to be bones of other baleen whales included in the skeleton as well.
Image ID: 25631
Species: Blue whale, Balaenoptera musculus
Location: Port Lockroy, Antarctic Peninsula, Antarctica

Next: Lemaire Channel, Antarctica
Previous: Cuverville Island, Antarctica
Trip Index: Cheesemans Antarctica, Falklands and South Georgia
All “Southern Ocean” entries

Bosque Del Apache NWR, New Mexico, 2010

Bosque del Apache, New Mexico

Skip and I made a short trip to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, in New Mexico, to photograph snow geese (Chen caerulescens) and sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis). This is strictly bird photography and has essentially nothing to do with the marine subjects that I really prefer. But its cheap, easy and fun, and is good practice for the real thing, so I’ve joined Skip at Bosque del Apache a couple times now. Here are a few photos from this year’s visit:

Snow geese in flight, Chen caerulescens, Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico

Snow geese in flight.
Image ID: 26196
Species: Snow goose, Chen caerulescens
Location: Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico, USA

Sandhill crane in flight, wings extended, Grus canadensis, Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico

Sandhill crane in flight, wings extended.
Image ID: 26197
Species: Sandhill Crane, Grus canadensis
Location: Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico, USA

Snow goose in flight, Chen caerulescens, Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico

Snow goose in flight.
Image ID: 26199
Species: Snow goose, Chen caerulescens
Location: Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico, USA

Flock of red-winged blackbirds, in flight, blurred in time exposure, Agelaius phoeniceus, Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico

Flock of red-winged blackbirds, in flight, blurred in time exposure.
Image ID: 26200
Species: Red-winged blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus
Location: Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico, USA

Sandhill crane in flight, wings extended, Grus canadensis, Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico

Sandhill crane in flight, wings extended.
Image ID: 26202
Species: Sandhill Crane, Grus canadensis
Location: Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico, USA

Snow goose bearing neck and leg research ID tags, in flight, Chen caerulescens, Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico

Snow goose bearing neck and leg research ID tags, in flight.
Image ID: 26209
Species: Snow goose, Chen caerulescens
Location: Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico, USA

Snow goose in flight, Chen caerulescens, Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico

Snow goose in flight.
Image ID: 26203
Species: Snow goose, Chen caerulescens
Location: Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico, USA

Snow goose in flight, Chen caerulescens, Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico

Snow goose in flight.
Image ID: 26207
Species: Snow goose, Chen caerulescens
Location: Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico, USA

Sandhill crane in flight, sunset, Grus canadensis, Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico

Sandhill crane in flight, sunset.
Image ID: 26204
Species: Sandhill Crane, Grus canadensis
Location: Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico, USA

A flock of snow geese in flight, Chen caerulescens, Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico

A flock of snow geese in flight.
Image ID: 26206
Species: Snow goose, Chen caerulescens
Location: Bosque Del Apache, Socorro, New Mexico, USA