Antarctica Dream Adventure 02 – A Day at Sea and About Bio-Security.

Sailing from Ushuaia to West Point on West Falkland Island.

Continuing our pursuit of the No. 1 item on the Bucket List, Viking Octantis left its berth on the dockside of Ushuaia and headed to West Point Island in the Falklands.

Our first sailing in Viking Octantis was very smooth

We will be at sea for a day and anchor in the bay ready for our landings the next day, this is truly exciting as we approach the first destination on our adventure. That evening and overnight the ride was very smooth in Octantis. There was a swell of about 12 feet, but it was hardly noticeable especially as it was a following sea, so sleep was sound.

We woke up to early light in a very cloudy sky. The excellent design of Octantis allowed os to lower the top half of the window so we could see clearly the sky and I could take pictures without the window glass in the way.

Photograph showing the early light of the day below the cloud banks
Early morning sun on the first morning on Octantis

First Nature Watch

During the day at sea we spent a lot of time at the bow, the sharp end. It was windy as the ship was making 14+ knots, the light was poor and the ocean was slate grey. However, we did see some birds flying around the ship.

Black-browed Albatross getting lift from the waves and air currents

We saw a black-browed albatross. It was gliding over the surface of the ocean, using the waves for uplift and hardly flapping its wings. This is the flight style that all albatrosses are famous for. It was said that an albatross could circumnavigate the World with only flapping its wings four times.

The giant petrel was our most common visitor of the day. Flying over the waves and coming directly up and over the bow. it was close enough to see the details of the feathers across the top of the wings. Unlike the black-browed albatross it did flap its wings, but not too often, again using the air currents being created by the waves.

Giant Petrel riding the waves of the South Atlantic Ocean
Southern Fulmar

The southern fulmar was our third species keeping us company during the day. There were fewer of them than the giant petrel, but they are known to fly among the giant petrels.

What and Why is Bio Security?

Bio security are mandatory measures to prevent us introducing Avian Influenza to these most perfectly preserved regions on the planet.

Avian Influenza has now reached the Antarctica region and it is a very serious threat to the bird population. If introduced to the area, the results are very severe. In fact some of the areas that were planned for excursions had already been closed.

Avian Influenza Potential Impact

As a member of the International Association Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) Viking must provide us with a briefing of what is required and checks to make sure the procedures are followed by us.


The IAATO was founded in 1991 to advocate and promote the practice of safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic.

So, on our first day at sea, we had to attend mandatory briefings on Bio-Safety.

We had to report to the landing area to be fitted for boots, similar to Wellington boots, and waterproof trousers. At the same time we had to bring everything we would wear as an outer layer when we landed on West Point in the Falkland Islands the next day. The outer items were inspected and vacuumed to ensure we would not take contaminants onto West Point.

Gear: Nikon Z 8; Nikkor Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S; Nikkor Z TC-1.4x iPhone SE

If you wish to see Antarctica Dream Adventure 03 please click here

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2 Responses to Antarctica Dream Adventure 02 – A Day at Sea and About Bio-Security.

  1. Dennis S Weingarten says:

    Great photos of the sky and the birdies.
    It was also very informative about the spread of the avian flu that has infected and affected so many bird populations, especially domestic poultry producers, around the world.

  2. David J Rowe says:

    Ever since I read “Shackleton’s Valiant Voyage” in college I’ve wanted to go there. The closest I got was New Zealand on my way to Australia in 1979 – I nearly detoured to go on a trip offered to me fly over to Antartica and back. I recently watched a documentary on Shackleton. I hope you have an amazing time !

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