Return to port

Home from the South Atlantic.

We’ve returned from a three-week trip to the South Atlantic, notably, from a National Geographic expedition out of South America’s Tierra del Fuego to the Falkland Islands and to South Georgia Island. It was a fantastic trip – great weather, wonderful people, incredible wildlife – and led to me snapping over 10,000 photos and videos. It will take me some time to digest and organize them, and write up the story, but here’s a bit of background and teaser shots.

David and Jack riding a Zodiac to shore in South Georgia.

First, for orientation, here’s a map: although we did not visit Antarctica, nor did we cross south of the Antarctic Circle, we did cross the Antarctic Convergence to visit South Georgia Island… which as a result is considered to be subantarctic, providing dramatic landscapes and abundant wildlife.

South America, Falkland Islands, and South Georgia Island.

We flew from home to Argentina via Miami, leaving winter behind and landing on a warm summer day in Buenos Aires. After checking in with National Geographic’s partner Lindblad Expeditions, we headed out for a bus tour of this historic port city – worthy of its own blog post. The next day we were up early for a three-hour charter flight to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, where we cruised part of the famous Beagle Channel while enjoying the sight of seabirds fishing and soaring alongside the vessel. We (and hundred other guests) boarded the National Geographic Endurance, our home for the next two weeks, in time to sail the Beagle Channel out to the Atlantic Ocean as the sun set over cocktails and dinner.

After two nights and one full day at sea – packed with interesting lectures and opportunities to photograph seabirds – we spent a day in Port Stanley, the capital of the Falkland Island. We had a chance to visit the shoreline and meet our first penguins – Magellanic Penguins.

Magellanic Penguins (molting) at Gypsy Cove – in Stanley, Falkliand Islands.

We then sailed again, this time for two full days and three nights at sea, until we reached South Georgia. We spent four and a half days exploring the hills and bays of the eastern shore, landing each morning and each afternoon to hike and to interact with seals, penguins, and other seabirds – surrounded by the snowcapped peaks and glaciated valleys of these remote islands.

Overlook at Gold Harbor, with tens of thousands of King penguins on the beach.

One or two photos cannot begin to summarize this incredible place, where we literally encountered hundreds of thousands of penguins in some places, fur seal pups that waddle or swim right up next to us, or humpback whales that gracefully swim alongside the ship.

David and Jack with King Penguins – Salisbury Plain, South Georgia.

We sailed back to the Falklands, again three nights and two days at sea; this time we spent two days in two parts of the remote West Falklands, visiting an active sheep farm, a remote bed & breakfast, and a busy albatross colony. After another full day at sea, we returned to port in Ushuaia for a final night onboard. My final day was a 36-hour marathon of travel from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires to Miami to Boston and home.

A tussock bird lands on David’s lens. (Photo by Doug Allen)

Much more to come! Here are two more maps, for orientation:

South America, Falkland Islands, and South Georgia Island.
Map of our approximate route from Tierra del Fuego to Falklands to South Georgia to Falklands and back.

Author: dfkotz

David Kotz is an outdoor enthusiast, traveller, husband, and father of three. He is also a Professor of Computer Science at Dartmouth College.

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