At sea, South Georgia to the Falklands

Nov 06, 2017 - National Geographic Explorer

It was dawn. South Georgia was behind us and a seemingly endless sea was before us.  The swell was mostly running in a northeasterly direction and a lesser swell was heading towards the east. This made the sea a little bit confused, nothing bad, just not a simple rocking.  There was some wind and scant sun.  A perfect morning to tuck in, roll over, and go back to sleep!

Breakfast was relaxed, no early landing, but there was still plenty to do today. There were lectures: Shackleton, filming emperor penguins underwater, and marine plankton.  There was returning the rented boots, poles, and waterproof pants…my favorite!  There was early packing, the last Recap, and let us not forget eating, including a special teatime treat of Swedish pancakes with a choice of fruit, nuts, sauces, ice cream, and whipped cream.

The photographers were extra busy getting images ready for the guest slideshow.  There were also folders on the computers in the Internet Café for pictures to share amongst all of our guests.  Didn’t take any images?  No problem!  Some folks took thousands of pictures and they were willing to share, just download them. I also put the illustrated plant list on those computers, a collection of images I showed at Recaps.

For the restless and wildlife deprived, there was some birding to be done from the Bridge and the Sun Deck:  royal albatross (the one I saw might be the northern), pintado (cape) petrel, southern giant petrel (including a white morph), white-chinned petrel, southern fulmar, etc. 

We also had an important biological/geographical event; we crossed the Antarctic Convergence or the Polar Front.  No bump, but the temperature rose. This afternoon we were no longer in the Southern Ocean, we were now in the South Atlantic Ocean!

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About the Author

Dennis Cornejo


Dennis began scuba diving during the mid-1970s as part of a research project. At the time he was a research associate at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona, studying the population of winter hibernating sea turtles.  What began as a scientific study soon became a conservation project that expanded to three species of sea turtles along the entire Pacific coast of Mexico.  This project received major funding from the World Wildlife Fund and was eventually taken over directly by that agency with Kim Clifton and Dennis Cornejo as co-principal investigators.

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