At sea from the Falkland Islands to Tierra del Fuego

Mar 07, 2018 - National Geographic Explorer


This morning, just before breakfast, it is bright outside with a bit of wind from the west.  Not too strong, but where is the wind going?  Where did it come from?  The wind is almost always from the west, more or less, at these latitudes.  Not a hard question.  Here, the wind is going around the world, again and again and again.  The water currents go this way as well, with a little extra meandering and looping.  The distribution of vascular plants on the subantarctic islands reflect this movement of wind and water, where the subantarctic islands are all those islands, worldwide, south of the Antarctic Convergence or Polar Front.  Plant colonization of these islands is predominantly from west to east due to the movement of the wind and sea.  This also applies to other types of life as well.

For those of us on the National Geographic Explorer, today’s wind is nice.  It is not strong enough nor long lived enough to build up the seas, but it is enough to lift up the birds.  During this busy, yet lazy day, the last sea day of our voyage.  One can pop up to the Bridge, chat with the officer-on-watch and interrogate a naturalist or two.  There are plenty of birds out there, soaring and swooping, dark ones, light ones, huge ones and lesser beasts as well.  There have been dolphins and sea lions and I expect there will be more, as well as whales.  But that is not what I am after.

Just after lunch I stalk onto the Bridge in search of visual material for this Daily Expedition Report.  On this day there is lots going on: lectures, the collection of images for the Guest Slide Show, the collection of images for our two Bio-Blitzes, the returning of rental gear, etc.  Not very photogenic!  Whales and sea birds?  Sure, great, but we have other Daily Expedition Reports featuring these animals from this voyage.  So, what really goes on during the last day of the voyage, aside from final laundry, settling accounts, doing some packing and exchanging contact information?  I think it is a good time to wind down, smell the lichens and look at the scenery, reflect perhaps.  Yes, on the Bridge I can see that we have past Isles de Los Estados to the south and to the north is Isla Grande, soon we will be in the Beagle Channel.  Who is that smiling person on the Bridge?  That would be naturalist Santiago, too excited to reflect, although he might be glowing somewhat as another bird has soared by, here, in one of the most interesting and beautiful spots in the world.

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About the Author

Dennis Cornejo

Naturalist

Dennis has spent more than half of his life working with Lindblad Expeditions. He first studied biology in the Sonoran Desert. It was his work with the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum that brought him into contact with Sven Lindblad. Dennis was working with sea turtles in Mexico, desert tadpoles in southern Arizona and evaluating various legume trees for arid lands agriculture throughout the Sonoran Desert. Sven asked him if he would be interested in working on a ship as a naturalist in Baja California… a simple ‘yes’ turned out to be perhaps the most important decision he ever made!

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