shall steam close in past the coast of Prince Edward, and
anchor off the South African research station on Marion Island.
Although we are formally requesting landing permission, it
is unlikely that we will be able to land on Marion Island,
but we shall lie very close in off the island (ca 250 m offshore),
and if weather permits, take the more adventurous passengers
even closer inshore aboard the ship's boats. Crozet Shag and
Kerguelen Tern, as well as the four breeding penguins, will
be seen feeding close to the ship. Lesser Sheathbill is likely
to remain ashore, although we may be lucky to have one come
out to investigate the ship.
We'll then steam south, past Kildalky, a vast colony of King
and Macaroni Penguins (with more than a million breeding birds),
and head south-west for the pack ice. Exactly how long this
will take depends on the extent of the sea-ice, and the weather
conditions we encounter. However, we plan to have at least
one full day (ideally two) steaming through the pack-ice.
This is an unforgettable experience, with calm seas and plenty
to look at (seals, icebergs as well as birds).
Finally it'll be time to head back north to Cape Town. This
will be a long six days, with few new species to be seen,
so those less than gung-ho birders who aren't fussed about
honing their seabird ID skills might want to spend some time
reading, listening to lectures or watching videos. We plan
to dock early on 17 November, but given the vagaries of the
weather, we might be earlier or later than this.