4 Apr 2018

4 Apr 18 - Atlantic Odyssey - Day Seven: South Georgia - Southern Right Whales

As we were sailing away from Cooper Island & South Georgia, we saw a couple of Southern Right Whales: our first large Whales of the Odyssey. For me the early part of the Odyssey had been disappointing for Cetaceans. I had seen brief views of a Fin Whale & a couple of Southern Right Whales, as well as, a couple of brief sightings on Hourglass Dolphins on different days. Additionally, a few lucky peeps had seen a Southern Bottle-nosed Whale & Spectacled Porpoise: both of which are still Ticks for me. Finally, sightings were on the up when these Southern Right Whales performed for us.
Some of the crowds looking for the Southern Right Whale: While Chris Gladwin's has had enough
Southern Right Whale: Note, the encrustations on the body & the calm oily footprint (which is the tell tale sign of where a large Whale has been on the surface)
Southern Right Whale: A close up of the encrustations which they typically have
Southern Right Whale: Southern Right Whales don't have a dorsal fin on their back
Southern Right Whale: About to fluke
Southern Right Whale: The tail is on the water's surface
Southern Right Whale: & now the tail is fully exposed
Southern Right Whale: They can grow to 11-16 metres long & weight 20-30 tonnes
Southern Right Whale: The strongly pointed tail fins are one of the identification features
Southern Right Whale: They are circumpolar & occur between 35 & 60 degrees South. Well known wintering sites include Southern Argentina & South Africa, as well as, South Georgia, Australia, New Zealand & a variety of other South Ocean islands
As usual, after dinner, we retired to the observation lounge for the Wildwings log. One of the good things on some evenings were the long discussions on identification of some of the Seabirds or Cetaceans. Often, there wasn't the opportunity on the deck to check the photos properly, or sometimes, they needed to be seen properly on a laptop screen. Other evenings were just a good craic of story & joke telling over a beer or two (or tea in my case). The social side of the Odyssey was excellent.
Mike Deverell with Ozzy Chris Keher in the background: Mike struggling to stay awake for the log. It had been a busy three days around South Georgia