Tag Archives: Blue petrel

Wide wasteland

We are now charging back across the Drake Passage towards Antarctica at a prodigious speed and leaving a vivid white wake through the calm silky seas behind us. The wind is barely raising a ripple of the gently roiling waves that stretch across the horizon and the Southern Ocean is quiet. Barely a bird is to be seen on these seas that typically boast a profusion of soaring albatross, petrels and prions, and the occasional blue petrel darting by the bow serves more to highlight the absence of the expected avifauna than to break the mood of an empty ocean. No whale blows break the flat horizon and we it is easy to feel alone out here with the horizon stretching off unbroken in all directions.  But it is not a feeling of loneliness that encompasses me at the moment but one of being lost in a vast and unexplored world, one of not knowing what will appear before us, and the excitement of driving forward towards the ice.

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Swallowed by the mist

We are currently crossing that notorious body of water known as Drake Passage – renowned for terrible wind and waves. Yet the ship is barely moving as we charge through flat calm seas surrounded by a heavy mist that has clung to the ship all day masking the world from our eyes save a dim 20 meter swath of lazy water. Occasionally a slender billed prion or a blue petrel darts out of the mist and past the bow of the ship but apart from these rare and fleeting glimpses of life it feels almost as if we are all alone in a world that starts and ends  only meters from the ship.

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