Antarctica Voyage Day 11 – 29th December 2015- Flying out of King George Island

Antarctica Voyage Day 11 – 29th December 2015- Flying out of King George Island

Today was our last day in Antarctica. It snowed all morning so it was an apt end to our voyage, which had been in the calm waters and best weather of the season so far.

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Vavilov
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

There was a flight load of passengers arriving from Chile to join our ship, whilst we would catch the plane on its return back to Punta Arenas.

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Vavilov with new friends
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

New friends made on Vavilov
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

We had to have our luggage ready, as it was taken directly to the airport.

We left the boat by Zodiac and then once landed on King George Island, had to take our hand luggage plus coats and walking boots with us. We were still in the shipping issue waterproof trousers, coats and wellies as after getting off Zodiac boats at the Chilean Research Station, we had to walk 2 miles (carrying our hand luggage) through deep snow and slush to the airstrip.

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at Memorial to Antarctica Treaty, Chilean Research Station
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Memorial to Antarctica Treaty, Chilean Research Station
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Memorial to Antarctica Treaty, Chilean Research Station
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Chilean Research Station
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Chilean Research Station
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Chilean Research Station arrows

Chilean Research Station
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Chilean Research Station
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Chilean Research Station
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

I was particularly interested in the research station, to see if there was any rubbish around. Although I think things would be improved with rubbish cleared up and drums stored out of sight in a safe place, the stations were not too bad.

We were expecting the runway to be tiny, but there were 3 planes waiting for passengers.

First stop was to get our Chilean Antarctica passport stamps in and out, before walking closer to our plane swapping boots, trousers and coats before getting our plane.

Antarctica passport stamp

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig new friends

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Our flight was delayed but it was still light, as we flew over the continent and sea.

Back in Punta Arenas, we had a quick stop over before a morning flight.

It was a fantastic end to the trip of a lifetime. Maybe one day I will return as a crew…

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

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Antarctic Voyage Day 8 – 26th December 2015 – Aitcho Island

Antarctic Voyage Day 8 – 26th December 2015 – Aitcho Island

This morning we woke up to the good news that my friend and her parents were evacuated from the boat at about 4 am, to catch a flight to Punto Arenas. Her dad was now in hospital there and being treated for his heart attack. Hopefully her dad will be well enough to travel back to Vancouver very soon.

The boat moved south, so that at 10 am we could travel by Zodiac to Aicho (HO) Island, where there was a colony of Chinstrap and a few colonies of Gentoo Penguins. There were about 5,000 of each but most were out of view. We had to walk through snow to get to them. There were also Brown Skuas getting hold of eggs and breaking them open. Sometimes they were able to grab a Gentoo Penguin chick.

Aitcho Island, Antarctica

Chinstrap Penguin colony, Aitcho Island, Antarctica

Chinstrap Penguin on nest, Aitcho Island, Antarctica

Gentoo Penguin on nest covered in snow, Aitcho Island, Antarctica

Brown Skua attacking Gentoo Penguin colony, Aitcho Island, Antarctica

Brown Skua attacking Gentoo Penguin colony, Aitcho Island, Antarctica

We trekked through deep snow to get to the top of the island, where it was really cold and windy. This was the first excursion where most people returned to the boat early. This was what apparently Antarctica land excursions are usually like, rather than the beautiful weather we had been having.

Chinstrap Penguin, Aitcho Island, Antarctica

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig near Aitcho Island, Antarctica
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Gentoo Penguin
Photograph taken by and copyright Jim (Zhimin) Zong’s
For copies of this and other amazing photos from this trip contact zongzm@gmail.com

We were meant to be landing at Robert Point in the afternoon, but we were not able to land before due to windy conditions. Again today it was too windy to land and so instead we pressed south. On our journey, we continued to see lots of Humpback Whales.

Final itinerary of our Antarctic Voyage
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Before we came to Antarctica, there were three birds I really wanted to see. The first was Emperor Penguin, which we had no chance of seeing, and the second was Wandering Albatross which we hoped to see if we put in the hours of sea watching and had luck on our side. The third was the enigmatic Snow Petrel, a bird you can not see outside these waters and usually next to floating ice on the water. In May, I did an interview for Springwatch and got to meet Chris Packham. As I was a world birder he asked me if I had seen lots of different birds. Snow Petrel was one that we both said that we really wanted to see. Our ship ornithologist Simon told us that Chris Packham had been on board our ship, The Vavilov, a few weeks before us and had seen a Snow Petrel. Knowing that Chris Packham has seen Snow Petrel somehow added urgency to my own search.

I can’t express how beautiful this place is. Everything is on a huge scale. The sea, the icebergs and the sunsets.

Best birds and animals of the day:

Gentoo Penguin
Chinstrap Penguin
Southern Fulmar
Brown Skua
Humpback Whale

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Antarctica Voyage Day 7 – 25th December 2015 – Steaming Along at Sea

Antarctica Voyage Day 7 – 25th December 2015 – Steaming Along at Sea

Leith Cove, Antarctica
Photograph taken by Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

This morning I was woken up in my bivi camping at 5.30 am and was warm and cosy until I had to get up. We brought everything with us and took it all away, including waste. The first thing to do was to fill our trenches back up with snow, to make a minimum impact.

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Leith Cove, Antarctica
Photograph taken by Chris Craig

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Leith Cove, Antarctica
Photograph taken by Chris Craig

Once back at the ship at 6.30 am, I had a hot shower to warm up. At breakfast we heard the terrible news that someone had become seriously ill, and was alive but needed immediate and urgent medical evacuation to South Shetland Island, to get a plane off back to Punta Arenas in Chile. The boat was going full steam ahead back north and was due to arrive at the Chilean research station at midnight. The plane was due in at 3 am, if they could get hold of someone at the insurers to approve it. They needed the plane to take them to Punto Arenas for urgent treatment.

Then halfway through breakfast there was an announcement that we were about to go past The Chilean research station, Gonzales Videla, at Waterboat Point again where we had seen an Emperor Penguin yesterday evening. We dashed up 3 floors and almost immediately saw the penguin, this time standing up on a low lying bit of snow. It was amazing to see it yesterday but unbelievable to see it again this morning.

Emperor Penguin, Gonzales Videla

This excitement and celebration came to an abrupt end when I heard the shocking news that the person who was ill was my friend’s dad. We had been friends since day one here and our parents were spending all their time together. I hoped we could get to the airstrip as quickly as possible so that they could get a plane. A really horrible Christmas Day for them.

As we headed back north, the amount of ice reduced, but still with large icebergs. It was another sunny, still and glorious day. Not good for finding our missing Snow Petrel. Simon, the ship’s ornithologist said that 20 years ago you would maybe have one and a half days of sunny weather, rather than every day. Clearly, this was the change in weather patterns.

So far, I would say that tourism is having a negligible impact on Antarctica. We have been leaving places as we find them and with very little impact. Against this, tourists coming to the area and seeing how stunning it is, are keeping the place alive in people’s hearts and minds. There is an association for tourist providers travelling to Antarctica, with strict rules about what can be done and how. This is so that the impact of tourism to the area can be kept minimal, though there does not really seem to be a way of dealing with ships that break their rules. It is governments and corporations that will not care about trashing Antarctica, and the only way they can be stopped is by people visiting Antarctica and telling their friends and family about what a stunning and pristine place it is is and why it needs to be protected.

During our fast journey, from the upstairs bar, we saw an amazing Humpback Whale breaching and showing its tail. We also saw many more Humpbacks from the Bridge, probably there were about 60 over the day. We also saw some beautiful icebergs and some smaller ice floaters with groups of penguins on them. No sign of any Snow Petrels though…

In the afternoon, birds were very scarce with very few birds. Then suddenly there were Southern Fulmar on the water and a single Antarctic Petrel. It flew along one side of the ship and then back along the other side. We were really lucky to see one.

Then less than 20 minutes later we saw a Soft Plumage Petrel, further south than you would expect and so really great to see.

Dad had seen a Snow Petrel yesterday morning before Mum and I were up, so we were even more desperate to see one now. Dad had seen his bird miles away, so wanted to see one again.

After dinner, we sang Christmas carols in the bar and me and a bunch of teenagers jumped into the icy plunge pool before warming ourselves up in the sauna. It is traditional for people to jump into Antarctic sea water on their first visit. The plunge pool was filled with Antarctic sea water and was the same temperature, so we could take the plunge.

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on her way out of the antarctic water

Best birds and animals of the day:
Emperor Penguin
Gentoo Penguin
South Polar Skua
Antarctic Petrel
Soft Plumaged Petrel
Fur Seal
Humpbacked Whale

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book

Antarctica Voyage Day 5 – 23rd December 2015 – Turrett Point, King George Island

Antarctica Voyage Day 5 – 23rd December 2015 – Turrett Point, King George Island

Today we woke up close to King George Island, with a beautiful view across the sea. We were surrounded by icebergs, lots and lots of Humpback Whale and ice on top of the water.

In the morning, we had a three-hour excursion by Zodiac to the island. Here we saw colonies of Gentoo Penguins and Adelie Penguins, which was brilliant. We also saw South Polar Skuas and seals.

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig King George Island
Photograph taken by Helena Craig

Near King George Island
Photograph taken by Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Gentoo Penguin, King George Island
Photograph taken by Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Gentoo Penguin and Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig King George Island
Photograph taken by Helena Craig

Adelie Penguin
Photograph taken by Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Adelie Penguins
Photograph taken by Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

We were meant to have another landing in the afternoon on the other side of King George Island, but this was cancelled because of strong winds. We had to be content with sea watching from the bridge instead.

We saw lots of Humpback and Fin Whales, which were beautiful.

Best birds and animals:
Adelie Penguins
Gentoo Penguins
South Polar Skua
Snowy Sheafbill
Antarctic Cormorant
Antarctic Tern
Southern Giant-petrel (including White Nelly)
Elephant Seals
Fin Whale
Humpback Whale

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book