When in Antarctica you see a lot of penguins and seals. Crabeater and leopard seals sleeping and resting on Icebergs. In the Zodiac you can get very close to these seals. Walking through a Gentoo or Adelie penguin rookery on one of the outer Islands or Antarctica Peninsula mainland. Making friends as you go.
Mammals like the Minke whale can be seen through out the day from the ship. Also coming close to the Zodiac without fear. The Humpback whale is also around in large numbers. getting very close at times.
Close encounters with a humpback whale. checking out the people in the Zodiac.
Humpback whale breaching as the ship makes its way around some Icebergs.
Leaving Ushuaia, Argentina. It took the ship 2 days at sea to cross the Drake passage to the top of the Antarctic peninsula. Weather and sea where kind with only a 4 to 5 meter swell. Heading south to the Antarctic circle and the wonders of Icebergs and landscapes of ice and snow.
Icebergs of all sizes and shapes can be seen from the ship. It’s when you see them up close from the zodiac. that you can really appreciate the size and shapes that they come in.
One of the many bright blue colored Icebergs that we came across. Some are so bright they stand out like a blue spotlight on the white landscape. If there was only one thing that you could takeaway from Antarctica. The size of the Icebergs and Glaciers would be one.
Have the winter blues got you down. Go hiking in Moab, Utah. Or take the mountain bike for a ride on one of the many trails. Arches National Park entrance is the closest to the town of Moab. Or the camping sites on the Colorado river just out of town. With many short hikes for that weekend away or longer stay. No need to get up super early to beat the heat.
Things to do in Moab
Without having to drive to far from Moab. Arches National Park is the easiest to get to if you only have the weekend. Devils Garden hike at the end of the road, 18miles. is a good place to start your hike. follow the trail over the rocky terrain and along high rock-fins to Double O Arch.
The window and Double arch. There is a loop track that goes behind double arch and back to the car park.
Park Avenue. Very short with a great overview. or you can hike down the trail in the middle and end up back at the road near Courthouse towers. Delicate arch is also a nice hike and a little longer.
Balanced rock: very short walk. Sanddune arch is a nice walk that joins up with broken arch.
What every order you do these short and longer hikes. TAKE WATER even in the winter.
The township of Moab has lots to offer. In the way of restaurants and drinking holes.Moab brewery for that afternoon drink and food. Your morning Coffee . Moab restaurant guide . 4×4 rental. Mountain bike shop (Next to brewery)
Wharariki Beach and Archway Islands hiking trails are to the west of Cape Farewell the most northern point of the South Island of New Zealand.Top of the Kiwi’s Head. Taking a short 20min hike through Department of Conservation land (Puponga farm park) that was once owned by the Riley’s. That walking track will bring you out at the top of a small sand dune with a view down the beach and the Archway Islands. Best time is at low tide and it can get very windy. Seals can be found coming ashore to rest in some of the caves along the beach. Oyster catchers, black and white and black ones can be seen feeding along the waters edge with other sea birds.
Getting to Wharariki Beach Golden By:
Leaving Collingwood follow the signs to Puponga, crossing a large one lane bridge over the Aorere River. Through Ferntown and on to Pakawau. Then turn right after crossing the bridge, keeping the ocean on your right. Once you reach Puponga you can drive up to the Farewell spit lookout. Like a good coffee and something to eat ? try the shop at the end of the road. Going back out to the main road turn right. When you get over the small hill and come out on the flat area again. The first turn on your left will take you up to the old red wool shed. From there you can walk over farm land to the coast and the seal cave and/or up to cape farewell. (nice walk) If you don’t stop here then keep on the main gravel road and you will of reach the parking area. The trail starts here over to Wharariki Beach and the Archway Islands. also from the car park. The hike down to green hills is through farm land with small lakes and bird life to view.
Watching this Red fox hunting for rodents was very interesting and entertaining moving his head from side to side, listing to the rodents movements under the snow (about 2 feet deep) and then jumping up and nose diving into the snow and catching it on the first try, a warm meal on a cold winters day
I have started to do a little bit of splash photography in my spare time, Once you have the setup that you like, Backdrops, water value,Pluto trigger, and a flash, Camera and lens. using deferent food colors and water thickness, liquid additives like Xanthan Gum (found on Amazon) Milk, Rise aid and the list goes on.
After flying in from Peru and spending only 1 night in Quito, 1 or 2 full days would have been be nice, as it’s (be warned) an hour drive into town to accommodation from the new airport in good traffic, (tip) Next time we would fly into Guayaquil as accommodations are a lot closer to the airport,unless you were going to spend more time in Quito.
Quito City at Sunset
The Next day it was up early to catch the transport back to the airport, through quarantine with plenty of time to catch our flight over to the Galapagos with AeroGal (great airline) we won’t talk about American Airlines and their service and flight (never again comes to mind)
Coming in to land we had a great view of some of the islands and the clear waters that surround them, with images of Great Tortoises in my mind, but alas I was to be disappointed on this day. Baltra Airport is very new and modern, a short time later we were through customs and waiting to board the bus for a 5 min ride down to the pier.
As we waiting for the zodiacs to take us and our bags over to the ship, sea lions showing off around the pier and my first Marine Iguana making his way across the road, filled in the time.
Once on board we were under way to Sullivan Bay on Santiago island for a afternoon walk on the lava field and our first Galapagos sunset.
Gear For The Trip
Camera Gear that we took for the trip: Canon 7D sigma 50-500 (this lens is heavy)was my main lens that was on the camera most of the time(400mm would be just fine) for landscapes and some wildlife shots I use a Sigma 17-70 great lens,Tripod, Samsung NX300 with 200 zoom light and takes great photos also a GoPro hero3 for underwater videoand stills. One thing to remember is the Wildlife is not that afraid, making it easy to get close to them.
After a long 12 hour drive up from Southern California, I got into Crescent City to meet up with a friend that had driven south from Idaho and we were both glad to be out of our cars.
The next morning it was coffee in town for the morning heart starter and a look around Crescent city, first stop was Battery Point Lighthouse. Sitting on a small island just off shore. when the tide is in, the only way over would of been to swim, “note to self check tide table next time,” would of been nice to get across. Make time to check out the group of seals living in the harbor enjoying leftovers from the fishermen.
Battery Point Lighthouse – taken from the breakwater across from the island
After the trees of mystery. driving to Klamath was the next stop for fuel, just over the bridge going south. Make a right turn and take the Coastal Drive road that follows the coast for a few miles some great vistas of the coast. Also a great spot to watch the salmon fisherman and seals competing for fish. (when in season) Also check out the old WW2 radar station.
Elk Prairie was our camping spot for the next 2 nights, it’s great camping under the giant trees. Another good spot is Mill Creek. From Elk Prairie you can do the Cal-Barrel road, drive over to Gold Bluffs Beach (the road is dirt) and do the short hike to Fern Canyon and check out the Beach. There is also camping there.
Also close by is Lady Bird Johnson Grove on Bald Hills Rd (great view at the top of Bald Hills Rd) Elk Meadows, watch the Elk feed in the afternoon/evenings.
Two of the Hikes I enjoyed the most were Damnation creek trail and Boy Scout trail both about 3 miles each way, there are also loads of smaller walks around if you just want to take is easy. Remember to put your arms around a tree and give it a hug (probably have to be a group hug unless you find a small tree) enjoy. Now for that long drive back to work.