Antarctica- Saturday, January 27, 2018…Tom’s photos…

Tom certainly got it right when he captured this Black Browed Albatross chick with what appears to be a smile. 

Today, we’re heading to South Georgia Island, a popular stopping point on the route toward the Antarctic Circle. We’ve yet to see snow-covered islands and glaciers. Soon enough, that will come. But, it’s a long way from Ushuaia, and today is the only day five of the 17-day cruise.

The beautiful scenery in the Falkland Islands.  Notice the birds flying above.

Many of our readers have written asking about the status of my injured knee. As it turned out, yesterday at 5:00 pm, I visited the ship’s doctor, fearful that the infection wasn’t improving after four full days of antibiotics. Thank you all for your thoughtful concern. 

Penguins fill the hills.

Bound and determined, I wasn’t about to be missing out on any of the many upcoming Zodiac boat excursions, and with another sea day to recoup, I felt I had no choice to see what was going on.

It’s fascinating to see how penguins love to stay close to their family members and friends.

My leg was turning red further up my thigh, several inches from the original site of the infection. It wasn’t in a specific line creeping up my leg, as one might expect from “blood poisoning.” Instead, it was in bright red blotches, each of which was tender to the touch. This was worrisome. I had no idea what was going on or how to treat it.

They’re never far from easy access to the sea.

This is cruise number 22 for us in the past over five years, during which neither of us had ever visited a ship doctor, not even when we contracted awful coughs, colds, and cases of flu. Fortunately, we’ve never had norovirus or seasickness requiring medication from the doctor.

A lone Caracara.

After a comprehensive exam of my knee, my leg, my groin, and mid-section, he determined I have the equivalent of phlebitis, inflammation in the vein in my leg, and lymphatic system, which, if left untreated, could be a disaster. He determined it hadn’t spread to any other parts of my body and was localized in my leg. 

Black Browed Albatross in a massive colony.

He prescribed a strong prescription anti-inflammatory drug that must be taken with food three times a day and continuing the antibiotic for at least four more days. Although concerned with the diagnosis, I was especially relieved when he said I could keep walking as long as I can tolerate it. 

A lone little bird.

Even with the pain these past many days, I’ve participated in the long walks on the excursions, although I continue to walk gingerly due to the pain. Tom has been patient and helpful as always, hanging on to me as we’ve navigated our way over the rough, rocky, and uneven terrain. 

Here’s a young chick making a little noise while atop their elevated nest. That’s amazing! This is unreal…the Black Browed Albatross on Steeple Jason Island remove tall grass from these massive “pod-like” structures, adding mud and vegetation to make it a free-standing pod on which they can nest. 

I’m scheduled to return to the doctor tomorrow at 5:00 pm to decide the next course of treatment if there has been a sufficient improvement. We’re hopeful when this morning I noticed the redness and tenderness had improved about 20%, not a significant amount but enough to make us feel optimistic.

More chicks and parents sitting atop their raised pods.

During this last outing on Steeple Jason Island in the Falkland Islands, he took all of the photos while I watched my footing using the walking sticks that the ship recommended we all bring with us. Tom, as sure-footed, as one can be, hasn’t needed to use them. Hence we only brought along one pair.

It was stunning to see all these Albatross atop these pods in their massive nesting grounds.

We failed to mention any information about the Falkland Islands in our enthusiasm to present our photos and with the sketchy Wi-Fi signal. Here’s a bit of data from the ship’s newsletter, to fill in the blanks:

The varying species can easily hang out together, as shown in these photos of Penguins and Albatross.

“The Falkland Islands have a rich history embracing maritime trade, sealing, whaling, as well as cattle and sheep farming. The English navigator, John Davis, aboard the “Desire,” made the first confirmed sighting of the islands in 1592. 

The first landing is attributed to the British Captain, John Strong, in 1690 at Bold Cove, Port Howard on West Falkland. Early visitors were sealers, whalers, and penguin hunters from different corners of the world. Many imported, domestic animals were left at various locations as a food source for future voyages.

A preening chick on the nest.

Cattle spread rapidly throughout the islands. Travel was on horseback and South American gauchos made their mark. Stone and turf corrals were constructed, and remains of these can be seen scattered across the islands. particularly on East Falkland.

It is “wildly” congested in spots!

The year 1833 saw the re-assertion by British for its sovereignty. By 1845 the capital had been moved to its present site and was named Stanley, after the Colonel Secretary, Geoffrey Smith Stanley. 

A bird of prey, the Caracara awaits the next opportunity for a meal.

Stanley became an important port for vessels involved in whaling and rounding Cape Horn.  Settlements and farms were built across the islands, and sheep farming took over from cattle ranching as a mainstay.

The ship’s naturalists set up a perimeter of flags for us to walk. This curious Caracara had to investigte the flagpole.

Falkland Islanders participated in both World Wars. The World War I Battle of the Falklands has commemorated the monument on Ross Road, while the Cross of Sacrifice commemorates World War II.  For 74 days in 1982, Argentine troops occupied the Falkland Islands. 

There are over one half million Albatrosses on this island.

A British Task Force was sent to recover the islands. Fierce fighting took place on land, at sea, and in the air, with several Islanders aiding the British military. Ultimately, Argentine Forces surrendered to the British Forces.”

As mentioned above, today’s photos were taken by Tom while we were at Steeple Jason Island in the Falkland Islands. He’s becoming quite the photographer!  For more information on this island, please click here.

They seem to go on forever.  What a sight!

Tomorrow’s post will be arriving later in the day since we’re heading out again, in the early morning, on the Zodiac boats to South Georgia, where we’ll certainly be in for quite a surprise which we can’t wait to share with all of you.

Have a fabulous day filled with many wonders!
Photo from one year ago today, January 27, 2017:
This fish mascot wandered about the Australia Day celebration for photo ops. For more photos, please click here.