Money for old rope

Ship rope

Although we had our amazing dinghy and land expeditions, there was also a lot of time spent on the boat during the Antarctic trip.

When I exhausted the day’s shots of icescapes, I took photographs of the ship’s features, notably the rope, which there was a lot of. It made me think of the saying “money for old rope”.  It has a nautical origin and comes from the days when sailors sold the good, (shorter), undamaged bits of rope when they came ashore.

~ Spotted Cow

More ship rope

Bird seeking shelter under rope

Weekly Photo Challenge: Gone but not forgotten

Skeleton

I came across this skeleton on one of our daily land trips on the Antarctic Peninsula. It made me think that Antarctica is like a natural Natural History Museum. There wasn’t a guide close by to ask, but I guess it was a stranded whale.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Gone but not forgotten

~ Spotted Cow

I missed the whales breaching !

Whale tail. Antarctica.

We had tannoys in our rooms on board the Antarctic expedition boat. I was lying in bed dozing to the rocking motion of the sea when the announcement came from the ship’s bridge that there were whales breaching. This, I had to see. I donned all my layers in double quick time and ran up on deck. Alas, I had missed the acrobatics. I did, however, manage to burn through over 100 pictures of their humps and tails going in and out of the water.

~ Spotted Cow

Four whale humpsWhale tailWhale tail with barnaclesWhale spotting

30,000 year-old ice for your gin & tonic

Giant iceberg

It’s a massive understatement, but there’s a lot of ice in Antarctica. Great giant blocks of ice the size of castles. In fact, they’re the young ‘uns, the bits of ice that have broken off glaciers or ice shelves and drifted out into the sea. It’ll take about 20,000 to 40,000 years for them to melt down to something you can put into your measure of gin & tonic.

We had excursions in motorized dinghies around these iceberg graveyards, to get a sense of their enormity, broadly aware that the ice is continuously melting and the iceberg could potentially tip over on one of its sides. Do you know the sound of groaning ice? I would like to have known, albeit from a safe distance !

~ Spotted Cow

IMGP0668 Ice the size of castles Seal on the iceIceberg perspective

Seals in Antarctica

Seal on ice

Penguins get all the hype, but my favourite creatures in Antarctica are the seals. They have wonderfully enigmatic expressions on their dog-like faces.

Seals are usually quite lazy. Mostly, I saw them lying around on the ice floes, watching the world go by. They’re attracted to the sound of the outboard motor and sometimes, they find enough energy to heave their blubber into water and swim up to say hello.

~ Spotted Cow

Seal swimming Seal of approval Seal and tourists

Did you see penguins in Antarctica?

Penguins on ice floe

Following on from the Snap Chat post about photographing in very white conditions, I’ve decided to do a series of posts on Antarctica.

I did an Antarctic trip several years ago and it was so bewilderingly beautiful that I almost never wanted to travel again because I thought that nothing could surpass it. The trip had a striking effect on me in more ways than one because I quit my job when I got home, having decided that I had to look down other routes. But that is a story for another time.

The most popular question I got when I returned from the trip was “did you see any penguins?”

The answer is a definitive yes. I saw penguins everyday. I smelt them every day too! Their poo – or guano, if you want to use the technical term – has a strong, sharp, pungent smell, which alerts you to their whereabouts. However, it doesn’t take away from how delightful and affable these little tuxedoed gentlemen are, waddling around on the ice and snow. Plus, you have the added bonus of getting up close and personal with them, if you can bear the smell.

~ Spotted Cow

Lone penguin in snow shower Penguins looking out to sea Solitary penguinClose-up