Archive for March, 2010

The Black Penguin

March 11th, 2010 at 5:48 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

It figures that something remarkable was seen on our trip, but I completely missed it. Fortunately my daughter Krystyana did see it – and she also managed to take several photos of this unusual critter. I’m speaking of the Black Penguin, a flightless bird with unusual coloring that appears to have taken the world by storm.

Black King penguin next to normal King penguin

Black King penguin next to normal King penguin

Fellow traveler and National Geographic Traveler contributing editor Andrew Evans posted a photo of the melanistic penguin on his blog, which led to another post in the Intelligent Travel blog, and from there it seems to have spiraled into a major news story.

So, to help prove that Andrew’s photo was not an anomaly, below are a few more photos of the Black Penguin.

Black Penguin in the foreground with a regular King penguin in the background

Black Penguin in the foreground with a regular King penguin in the background

The Black Penguin

The Black Penguin

Larger versions of the above images, along with additional photos can be found on Krystyana’s Flickr pages.

 

Slide Show From The Antarctic Expedition

March 9th, 2010 at 2:01 am (AST) by Jake Richter

We had several photo pros on board the National Geographic Explorer, including Lindblad staff photographers Michael Nolan and Eric Guth and National Geographic photographers Sisse Brimberg and Cotton Coulson. This photo “team” was always readily available to provide guests with tips and critiques, as well as technical assistance.

Some of the ways they used to help improve the quality of the photos taken by guests was to lead seminars on photography and photographic techniques, as well as have open critiques of submitted photos. There’s no question that general photo quality improved as a whole over the three weeks we were traveling the seas.

The culmination of the photographic experience was a computer-based slide show put together by Mike Nolan, including most of the submissions from the first two critiques, plus a final set of photos, all contributed by a large number of guests and staff alike. There are many amazing photos from our trip included in the slide show, including wildlife, landscapes, abstract works, and even ones of various people you might or might not recognize.

While the slide show was distributed to folks on memory cards on board the ship the last day at sea, I offered to Mike that I could also post it here on our site for on-line access by our fellow guests and their friends and family, and that offer was gladly accepted.

The link below leads to a .MOV file containing the slide show, which can be played back via QuickTime, iTunes, or any of a number of other video players. You can download Apple’s QuickTime here in case you need it.

The .MOV file is just over 50MB in size, and takes about 32 minutes to play through (there are a lot of photos there). There is no sound in the file, so don’t be alarmed if you hear nothing when you start the slide show. I would suggest playing some Jazz or Classical music in the room you view the slide show in to add a nice aural ambiance.

To play the .MOV file, click on the link below, and then save the .MOV file in a local directory on your system. Once it is fully downloaded, and assuming you have QuickTime or another compatible player installed, you can double click on the file to play it. You may also have to click on the “play” button in your video player to start the slide show.

NatGeoExplorerSlideshow.mov

Enjoy the show! And special thanks from all of the guests (including us) to the National Geographic Explorer Photo Team for all their advice, comments, and support!

 

GPS Tracking – Ushuaia to Miami via Bolivia and Peru

March 9th, 2010 at 1:20 am (AST) by Jake Richter

I guess we were more tired than I thought. The 17+ hours of time in transit over the weekend (not counting the couple of hours it took to board the plane in Ushuaia after leaving the ship) wore us out.

After picking up a rental mini-van in Miami early yesterday morning, we rented a hotel room just to sleep for a few hours, did some important shopping at Walmart (extra luggage, among other things), and dined on spicy wings at Hooters (I’m a big fan of hot wings, and in fact have one of the top 10 recipes returned by Google for “buffalo wing recipe”). We then moved on to our final hotel in Coconut Grove for the rest of the week, where we happened to bump into a couple of our fellow travelers, by coincidence.

I’m getting my notebook motherboard replaced tomorrow, but hope to have time to post some more pictures as well as write something up for the folks at Lindblad while I wait for the repairman to show up.

In the meanwhile, below is our GPS track from Ushuaia, which took us to a refueling stop in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, a refueling and crew change stop in Lima, Peru, and then our eventual safe landing in Miami, plus our running around there.

This will be our last GPS track for the current expedition (unless I decide to include one for our return to Bonaire on Saturday).

 

We Have Arrived In Miami!

March 7th, 2010 at 5:44 am (AST) by Jake Richter

After over 17 hours of travel from Ushuaia, we just touched down in Miami, tired, but happy.

More later today after we get some real sleep and get settled into our hotel in Coconut Grove.

 

GPS Tracking – The Path To Great Lamb BBQ From Ushuaia

March 6th, 2010 at 7:37 am (AST) by Jake Richter

Considering we were not even supposed to still be in Ushuaia yesterday, the folks at Lindblad Expeditions have been taking marvelous care of us – allowing us to remain in our cabins on board the National Geographic Explorer (which was supposed already have been several hundreds of miles away en route to dry dock in the Canary Islands), feeding us, entertaining us, and even providing us with free drinks. That will end later today as we get on the Miami Air charter (which Lindblad has also arranged for us at no charge) to get us to Miami. No other tour company I know of would have done all this for its guests. Kudos to Lindblad Expeditions!

The tour we were treated to yesterday was over the closest part of the Andes to Lago Escondido, and more specifically, to a small restaurant called Villa Marina, where we had wonderful BBQ lamb done in the local style, slow roasted for four hours (see photo in previous entry). Great scenic vistas and explanations of the geology and topology of the area by our guide along the way as well.

The GPS track for our Lamb BBQ quest is below in case any of you make it here, to the end of the earth (Fin del Mundo):

 

Maybe This Time, We’ll Be Lucky…

March 5th, 2010 at 7:05 pm (AST) by Jake Richter

Latest word is that our plane is in the air, and will be in Ushuaia in the wee hours. Current plan is for us to fly out of Ushuaia at 1:30pm tomorrow (Saturday), and arrive in Miami at 3:30am on Sunday.

Hopefully this will be our last post (except for a GPS track perhaps) until we’ve landed in Miami, found a bed or two to sleep in, and gotten some rest.