Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Antarctica Voyage Day 4 – 22 December 2015, Elephant Island

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

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

Fin Whale
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Today, I woke up with great excitement.  First, we could see our first two or three enormous icebergs, second there were lots and lots of Fin Whales breeching everywhere and most importantly we were approaching the inhospitable Elephant Island.  This is where Sir Ernest Shackleton left his 22 crew camped under two lifeboats for four months whilst he rowed to South Georgia Island, to get help. 

When our ship arrived at Elephant Island, we could see where Shakleton’s men were camped and a small memorial dedicated to the Chilean boat and crew who rescued them. It was a shame that we Britain haven't placed anything there remembering those men from the Endurance. Looking at how inhospitable and tiny this beach was, it brought home how difficult it would have been for them.  The island was at one point shrouded in fog, making visibility from the ship poor.

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig in Zodiac around Elephant Island
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

We then went around the island and did a two hour boat trip in Zodiac boats around the edge of the island, where we saw a small colony of Macaroni Penguins, Chinstrap Penguins, a Fur Seal, a Leopard Seal and Snowy Sheafbill.

Macaroni Penguin
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

It was really moving to visit the island, the home of so many amazing stories.  Shackleton is a legend with an incredible story of British resilience and survival against the odds.

Best birds and animals of the day:
Macaroni Penguin
Chinstrap Penguin
Snowy Sheafbill (Pale Faced)
Cape Petrel
Wilson’s Storm Petrel
Black-bellied Storm Petrel
White-chinned Petrel
Southern Fulmar
Black-browed Albatross
Southern Giant-petrel
Leopard Seal
Fur Seal

About the Writer

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Scilly
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

Mya-Rose Craig is a 13 year old young birder, naturalist, conservationist, environmentalist, writer and speaker. She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world. She loved seeing Mountain Gorillas in East Africa and Penguins in Antarctica over Christmas 2015, her 7th continent. 

Mya-Rose is a Bristol European Green Capital 2015 Ambassador along with Kevin McCloud, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Tony Juniper, Simon King, Miranda Krestovnikoff and Shaun the Sheep! See the full list of Bristol 2015 Ambassadors. She has also been listed with the singer songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones as one of Bristol's most influential young people. Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter

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