Mar 09, 2018 - National Geographic Explorer
For many on board, a day at sea was a welcome way to start our expedition, allowing time to recover from jetlag, orientate ourselves around the ship, and unpack and prepare our camera gear. For others, the wait only served to further build anticipation for what is bound to be an epic adventure.
Throughout the morning we were blessed with beautiful, calm seas, and our guests were introduced to the naturalists and field staff, as well as some of the wildlife we would be seeing throughout the expedition. Naturalist and Year of the Bird Ambassador, Jamie Coleman, gave a lecture on the birds of the Southern Ocean, helping our guests identify the many species we will encounter. Armed with this knowledge, and the confidence to correctly distinguish between a northern giant petrel and southern giant petrel, we were invited out to the sun deck with the photo team, Eric Guth and Jay Dickman, to practice photographing these birds against the slow, rolling swell of ocean. Along with the usual suspects: giant petrels, skuas, and even black-browed albatross, naturalist Santiago Imberti spotted an unexpected stowaway from Ushuaia. Perched on a wire cable on the top deck was a rufous-collared sparrow. This beautiful, tiny bird weighs 20 g, and its habitat is usually restricted to mainland South America. This rufous-collared sparrow was surely as surprised as we were to find itself hitching a ride to the Falklands.
In the afternoon we were introduced to expedition photography by instructor Eric Guth, who shared his tips on basic photography techniques. There was also a brief overview and history of the Falkland Islands by our expedition leader Russ Evans. The seas picked up slightly in the evening, compelling some to turn in early and bringing an end to the first day of our voyage. Tomorrow our expedition truly begins.