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Islands of the North Atlantic Trip report

Bird cliffs

(original from 19 August)

By morning we were in calm waters, but the skies were leaden and there was light rain. Still, that was no impediment to a zodiac outing to see the bird cliffs, straight after breakfast (9:30).

Got rugged up in all of the wet-weather gear, and stashed the cameras in the Yeti (eski-come-waterproof bag). I put the telephoto on the old X-E1 body, because I expected to be mostly using my wide-angle lens to get photos of the cliffs as landscape features: everyone else would be doing the telephoto work.

Soon after we got to the foot of the cliffs, Doug spotted an Arctic fox, so it was telephoto time after all. Turns out that shooting a fox jumping from rock to rock with a telephoto lens from the bouncing gunwale of a zodiac in the rain is a frustrating exercise. I’m calling my series “Arctic Smudge”. Perhaps we’ll get another chance, and use higher ISOs and higher shutter speeds.

The cliffs themselves were very cool structures, and still covered in Guillemots and their chicks. The skies were thick with them too, but I doubt that many of those shots will work out, as the contrast with the cliffs was stark. Very much fun, even if the photography needs work.

The leader has decided that the rain argues against walrus hunting this afternoon, so we’re off to see the ice cliff at the south-eastern edge of Gustav Adolf Land (Aust Fonna). Walrus hunting tomorrow.

Getting to the ice cliffs involved picking our way through a sea of bergs, so was fairly slow going.

Basking on one of the denser parts of the drifting ice were a family of three walruses, and the Origo stopped and circled for a while so that we could get some shots. We came fairly close a couple of times, so the shots were good.

Finally made it to the cliffs, and we got some good shots of the ice waterfalls as we motored along the ledge, slowly. We didn’t go too far along because the ice berg sea got too thick to pass, and it was time to turn to reach our overnight anchorage anyway. Very cool, both visually and physically: the breeze off the ice sheet was cold.

The engines were stopped around twelve, as we had anchored. Very peaceful night.

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