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Alex Douglas-Kane shares her experiences and understanding of Discover Nature Awareness

Sunday, 21 June 2009

While serving in the Falklands Islands...

I had the opportunity to sail down to South Georgia, some one thousand miles from the Antarctic. During the ten days of sailing (round trip) on the Grey Rover, I spent the majority of my time out on deck birdwatching, only popping inside every now and then to drink some hot sweet tea and then back again for some more birding. Everyone on board thought I was mad.

I saw many wonderful things, like a school pilot whales, which ran into the bow of the ship, and there were the Tunny fish way of in the distance, massive fish they were. Plenty of birds were to be had like the Black-browed Albatross, Yellow-nosed Albatross, and then there was one way of in the distance that reminded me of a B52 bomber, namely the Wandering Albatross, what a magnificent bird to behold sailing effortlessly over the waves. One day we had a Wilson's-storm petrol land on board; it was amazing to be able to such a delicate bird in my hands.

Once ashore in South Georgia, I went for a walk along the coastline to take a closer look at a glacier ,when we came across a Weddell Seal just lazing away on the beach, what a moment to be so closed to a wild animal that seemed to be just as curious about us as we were of it.

The whaling stations on the Island were something else, even though they had been abounded many years previously, there was still an eerie feeling to the place; you could imagine the whales being dragged up the slopes by chains, to be prepared for human needs.

I also had the privilege of being in the presence of Ernest Shackleton's grave, and strangely enough, buried close to his grave was an Argentinean Officer. I love to travel you experience so many wonderful and amazing things and you meet very interesting people as well.

Photos by Geoffrey McMullan.

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