Surprise Evening

It’s nearly midnight and we’re sailing through the Bellinghausen Sea at nearly 68ºS, well south of the Antarctic Circle. Even though this is really deep into Antarctic waters, I’m standing outside in just a t-shirt and I’m not even feeling cold. It has been a beautiful day with sunshine all around and people even taking naps on deck. When I just came out of the bar to go to bed, I had a quick look outside and was surprised by the number of birds around the ship. During the day it was hard work finding birds. The sea was very calm and there was very little wind and the number of birds seen was very low. Occasionally a group of Southern Fulmars or Antarctic Petrels was seen, but most of the time it was just an empty ocean.

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Sunset at sea

But now there are several Cape and Antarctic Petrels around the ship, in the beautiful evening light. So even though I was supposed to go to bed, I quickly go to my cabin to grab my camera to take a few flight pictures. The longer I stand outside, the more birds I see. With the Cape and Antarctic Petrels, I find some Antarctic Prions, Wilson’s Storm Petrels and even a Southern Giant Petrel. All this in the gorgeous evening light. But they don’t really want to show themselves too close to the ship, so taking pictures is difficult. After a while, I give up and decide it’s finally time to go to bed. But it was a nice ending to a good day.

Arjen Drost

Arjen is a Polar ecologist, nature photographer and full time expedition guide on expedition cruise ships in both Polar regions. With his pictures and stories he likes to show the beauty of these very fragile and threatened places.

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