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5 December 2012 / leggypeggy

Our icy adventure begins

Lemaire Channel

Entering the Lemaire Channel

Poor John and I are in the Antarctica aboard the Ocean Diamond. Internet connections cost a bomb, but I couldn’t resist buying some megabytes so I could share a few blog entries. More detail and photos will follow after 9 December.

Yesterday Poor John and I sailed southeast down the Beagle Channel from Ushuaia (which claims to be the world’s most southern city) on our way to Drake Passage and the beginning of a 10-day adventure in the Antarctic.

The passage is known for its wild conditions. The current swirls clockwise around Antarctica, with nothing in the way but icebergs. The water can swing from Drake’s Lake to Drake’s Shake.

Amazingly, our journey so far has been almost lake-like. I noticed when the ship entered the passage about midnight—my bed bobbed under me for a bit, but nothing kept me from actually going to sleep.

And sailing has continued to be smooth-ish, although the gentle rocking has sent some people rushing for the sick bags.

The ailing ones missed a busy day. Breakfast was at 8 with too much delicious and tempting food. Compulsory briefing after compulsory briefing followed. It’s all for our own safety.

We learned how to board and disembark a zodiac, and how to avoid damaging the biodiversity. For example, all the gear we plan to take or wear ashore was vacuumed. We were fitted for heavy-duty, waterproof parkas and boots. Wait til you see a photo of me in both.

There was a fantastic rundown on the many birds we might see and a late-night viewing of episode one of David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet documentary.

But the best bit of all came around sunset when it was announced that a couple of light-mantled sooty albatrosses and snowy sheathbills were accompanying us on the starboard side. I had enough time to walk (no running in the halls or on the stairs) to our cabin and grab my coat and camera and head to the bow on Level 4.

This is what I got for my effort! 🙂

Snowy sheathbill

A very showy snowy sheathbill


Leave a Comment
  1. Your loving daughter and website administrator / Dec 5 2012 11:57 pm

    Oh mum – that snowy sheathbill is beautiful. What a fantastic photo. Glad to see you’re safe and having fun!


    • leggypeggy / Dec 9 2012 12:33 pm

      Thanks! I was so thrilled with that photo. Probably the best from the Antarctic.


  2. Sy S. / Dec 7 2012 3:38 pm

    What a good photographer and a great close up shot of the bird…. what a great overall shot of the boat and people at the bow looking at the scenery! Thanks for a few pics from your trip and even if it costs a “bomb” for the internet.


    • leggypeggy / Dec 9 2012 2:05 pm

      Thanks Sy. We’re back on terra firma now, so I hope to post lots more.


  3. lmo58 / Dec 8 2012 10:51 am

    Hi Peggy,
    I’m with the loving daughter above; I’m not sure which daughter it is so I’ve not said her name because there is only a 50 per cent chance that I’ll be right! However, that is a truly glorious bird. Its feathers are so white. And it looks to have a fairly wide wingspan also. I’m so enjoying your and John’s travels and the magnificent photos you post. Thank you again.


    • leggypeggy / Dec 9 2012 12:36 pm

      Thanks Louise. The message is from Petra. The ornithologist on our ship loved the photo too, and I gave him a copy.


  4. Sebastian / Dec 19 2012 9:40 am

    Lucky shot! I am impressed indeed since I know how hard it is to capture flying birds!!


    • leggypeggy / Dec 19 2012 9:58 am

      You are right! It was a very, very lucky shot. I’m still surprised that I managed to get it. I’ve shared the pic with the ornithologist on the ship because he said he’d never managed to get a shot of a snowy sheathbill in flight. He has one now. 🙂


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