Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Getting to Antarctica Part 3, Wednesday:

Even on this full day of just traversing the Drake Passage (it is 500 miles from the tip of Tierra del Fuego to the Antarctic Peninsula) they keep you busy.

We had four briefings during the day:
  1. First, an introduction of the naturalist staff--They are a bunch of very social biology, climate, geology and ecology geeks. Most of them seem to have a fun, dry sense of humor.
  2. Next was a briefing on Sea Birds of Antarctica: Bev loved it. It was a little too much information for me (most of the briefings are options).
  3. Next, Digital Photograph: I thought it would be rather basic. But while it covered the basics, the staff photographer went into more detail than I expected and covered more topics than I expected (e.g. Raw/JPEG/TIFF formats, Histograms, color spread settings, filters, tripods). He really did a great job explaining things. For the first time I think I session with the staff photographers.
  4. Last briefing of the day was mandatory Antarctic landing procedures: First, the woman in charge of the zodiacs explained how to get into and out of the zodiacs. Next, expedition leader went through IAATO (International Association Antarctica Tour Operations) and the Atlantic Treaty Nations requirements. These include:
  • Preventing the introduction of non-native species,
  • Protection of fresh water.
  • Don’t approach wildlife closer than 5 meters (15 feet). But it is OK if you are just sitting there and a penguin comes up to check you out.
  • Do not feed, touch or handle wildlife.
  • Wildlife has the right of way-- if they are crossing your path, stop and wait until they pass.

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