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Steve Howell and Luke Seitz on their just-completed cruise, Antarctic Peninsula and around Cape Horn

February 11: Steve Howell and Luke Seitz on their just-completed cruise, Antarctic Peninsula and around Cape Horn

Steve Howell and Luke Seitz report on the inaugural WINGS tour on a Princess cruise ship to Antarctica and around Cape Horn, which definitely exceeded expectations—from Snow Petrel and Emperor Penguin to Magellanic Woodpecker and Andean Condor; from intense blue icebergs dotted with penguins to tens of whales feeding all around the ship amid icy scenic grandeur; and switching oceans from Atlantic Petrel and Yellow-nosed Albatross in the South Atlantic to Juan Fernandez Petrel and Buller’s Albatrosses in the Humboldt Current. Such a trip is impossible to convey in words or even in a few images. But we’ll try...


Just another Antarctic vista as we scanned for penguins and whales.


Seeing 12 of the world’s 24 albatross species on the trip was notable, from the almost daily but always handsome Black-browed... the huge Wandering Albatrosses, at times almost sailing past at arm’s length and allowing great comparisons of the various taxa—here a (presumed) Snowy Wandering...


... and here, within the same minute, a distinctive Antipodes Wanderer.


Penguins of course are synonymous with this region, whether Adelie Penguins on icebergs...


...the up-close-and-personal colony of King Penguins at the Falklands...


...or Chinstrap Penguins porpoising in their marine element.


Some Humpback Whales feeding amid scenery. © Luke Seitz


Snowy Sheathbills flew out to visit the ship a few times... © Luke Seitz


...distracting us from the infinite shapes and shades of glaciers and icebergs.


It wasn’t all seabirds, and here the group enjoyed an obliging male Magellanic Woodpecker


This young Burrowing Owl in Uruguay was another non-seabird highlight.


And lastly, the tour coincided with the first Patagonian Wetlands Birding Festival in Punta Arenas, where we added an international flavor to the event, held on International Wetlands Day.



Posted: February 11, 2020