10 November 2009

Days at sea

North-westerly winds have nudged us in the back all the way from the
Falklands towards South Georgia. The ship has been making roughly 13
knots, and our guides are pleased to remind us, often, that it will mean
more time ashore at South Georgia.

At the time of writing we have had just over 50 hours at sea since we
left the Falklands. A lot of time has been spent weeding the pictures
from the beaches at Falklands, and subsequently assigning keywords and
making backups. The most convenient place for these activites is of
course the ship's lounge, where we also get to glance enviously at each
other's captures and exchange experiences from the various shoots. Some
of us have also spent a few hours on deck, photographing seabirds as
they zoom past in their search for food surfacing in the wake of the
ship. Albatrosses, petrels and so on. Don't ask me to recognise those
species yet, they all look like some kinda fulmar to me. But it's great
practice to have a go. The DA*300/4 lens is seeing a lot of work, as
does the Metz flash and the BetterBeamer. The latter is really doing
wonders for the effective flash range, and enables me to shoot images I
would definately have missed without. It also opens for some creative
flash photograpy. I will pursue this as my stomach allows; my
seasickness has begun stirring again. It feels a bit unfair, because my
roommate is having a great time. Apparently completely unaffected. I
applied another patch of scopolamin a couple of hours ago, but I'm still
not good. Have to lie down frequently to calm the system.

Yesterday our ship was accompanied by a flock of Hourglass dolphins for
nearly 20 minutes. They made beautifully gracious jumps along the side
of the ship, sometimes two or three together, and all of them in
suitably photogenic distance from the ship. However, again I fumbled.
Just like on the whale safari at the Valdez peninsula. Seems like me an
whales don't go well together. All my dolphin shots came out slightly
blurred because my shutter speeds weren't short enough. Grrr...

A few hours ago we passed Shag Rock, a set of jagged peaks protruding
out of the sea in the middle of nowhere. Coloured by guano and inhabited
by thousands, it was indeed a Shag's rock. Our guides were very pleased
to have the opportunity to sail close by, explaining that this point is
normally passed after nightfall. The favourable winds are credited for
this one too.

As of now, our preparations for landing at South Georgia have begun. We
have been instructed to vacuum-clean all outer garments we intend to
bring ashore, as well as all photobags and other equipment that may
become exposed to the island's soil. We will also have to scrub our
boots thoroughly in a disinfecting liquid before setting foot on the
island. Their hope is that these precautions will keep foreign seeds,
micro-organisms and insects from spreading into the ecosystem. It's
tedious work, and with only two vacuum cleaners and over 40 passengers,
it's quite a queue to get it done.

If you have read this far, it might now occur to you that I'm babbling
about trivial and rather insignificant things. You would be right. I'm
bored. :-)

And looking forward to seeing South Georgia tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

I don’t find it ”trivial and rather insignificant things”. It is interesting to hear about behind the scenes things that I haven’t come across before, though I’ve read many times about Antarctica trips.
Also looking forward to hearing more on how the better beamer worked.

Alunfoto said...

The BetterBeamer worked quite well for some stuff. I'll get back to that when posting an image from this day.
However way one puts it, I cannot get past vacuum cleaning as trivial, though. :-)