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New England Seabirds

Wilson's Storm-petrel Dave Jones

Trip Reports

Chapter 1 Intro

Chapter 2 Drake Passage

Chapter 3 South Georgia

Chapter 4  Falklands

A. So Georgia Bird List

B.  Costs, Leaders


Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands

January 15 - February 2, 1999

Trip Report by Emmalee Tarry

Appendix B

Costs, Trip Leaders, Referemces



Comments to webmaster


Emmalee Tarry on first landing

It was a great trip.  I would love to go again.

How Much Did It Cost?
I shared a room with my cousin Paula Higgins and we elected the cheapest cabin on the boat. We were on the lower deck and had 2 bunk beds and a complete bathroom. The only difference was the room itself. The cheap seats enjoy all the same food, drink and accessibility to the rest of the ship as the more expensive. A category 2 cabin was on the same deck, but had two single bed instead of the bunk beds. The tour cost included air fare from Miami and back. Other departure cities at the same cost were New York and Los Angeles.

Tour Cost Category 1


Air Fare to Miami and back


Various airport taxes


Trip Insurance (Optional)




* Other Category costs: $7,450; $7,925; $8,150; $10,585; $13,950 Singles: $10,825 and $11,175

**   Update:  My trip was in 1999 at a time when there were many Russian boats competing for tourist dollars.  These prices have gone up drastically since.  Also I am very sad to report that the Little Red Ship is no more.  It was sold to yet another company and sunk while on a similar trip.  It now rests on the bottom of the Scotia Sea.  From time to time I think about our warm little room on the ocean bottom.  Fortunately no lives were lost.


The only time it was really cold was when we were standing on the deck of the moving ship watching birds. Even then my feet did not get cold and I found my hiking boots perfectly adequate. I also stood on the deck in tennis shoes. Warm hats and gloves were very necessary on deck. Inside the ship was room temperature.

On shore most people wore their parkas. Hats and gloves were sometimes comfortable, but most of the time not required. Your parka may not fit well so you might want to bring your own. Mine didn't fit at all.

I brought plastic rain pants to stay dry while sitting in the zodiac. These proved useless as once ashore they were too hot. I suggest water resistent pants rather than water proof pants. Bring two pairs so that if one get wet you have another for the afternoon trip. I once had to use the hair drier to dry my pants for the afternoon trip.

You need a pair of waterproof boots that come up to your knees and in which you can walk. Hiking boots are good for the long hikes and climbing. Waterproof boots are great for walking in penguin colonies.

Laundry is available on the ship. Bring a plastic garbage bag or two to protect your camera and binoculars in the zodiac. I usually placed all optical equipment in the plastic bag and put the bag in my backpack. This was great the one time I fell in the water to my waist.

Who Were the Leaders?
We were fortunate to travel with a diverse group of naturalists, and others with considerable knowledge of the area and the animals. I include their biographies taken from the trip literature. I always think the quality of the trip leaders to be very important to the trip.

VENT Leaders

Greg Lasley has a deep interest in birds and wildlife that has led him to many areas of the American Southwest, the East Coast, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Venezuela, Chile, and even Antarctica. He has actively birded Texas for 22 years, and has made significant contributions to the knowledge of that state's bird life as the Texas Regional Co-Editor for Field Notes ( formerly American Birds), and as the secretary of the Texas Bird Records Committee of the Texas Ornithological Society. He is especially interested in bird distribution and habitats. He is also a proficient bird photographer, having photographed many new state and area record birds. His photographs have appeared in magazines such as Bird Watcher's Digest, Birder's World, American Birds, National Wildlife, Texas Highways, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and Wildlife Conservation Magazine. Greg is known for his enthusiasm for birds and his eagerness to share them with others. He is a knowledgeable and patient teacher with a good sense of humor and a thoroughgoing competence.

Pete Dunne is a birder/writer, founder of the World Series of Birding, Director of Natural History Information for the New Jersey Audubon Society, and Director of the Cape May Bird Observatory. An experienced tour leader, he is well-known for his columns and contributions to American Birds, Birding, BirdWatcher's Digest, Living Bird, Wildlife Conservation, and WildBird. He is also the author of numerous books, including Hawkwatch, A Guide for Beginners, Hawks in Flight: A Guide to Identification of Migrant Raptors; The Feather Quest; Before the Echo: Essays on Nature; Tales of a low-Rent Birder; More Tales of a Low-Rent Birders; The Wind Masters: Lives of North American Birds of Prey.

Michel Sallaberry is a native of Chile who spent three years at the University of Pennsylvania studying for his doctorate. In December, 1985 he returned to Chile where he works as the ornithological curator at the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural in Santiago. His primary research interests are shorebirds and marine birds, but Michel has repeatedly traveled the length of Chile and knows its birds and varied habitats well.

M/S Explorer Staff taken from the trip literature

Expedition Leader Kim Crosbie is originally from Edinburgh. She completed her first masters degree in Geography at the University of Aberdeen before moving to the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge, where she completed a masters on Arctic ecology and conservation. At present, Kim is working on a doctorate at the Scott Polar Research Institute investigating ecological monitoring and management in both the Arctic and Antarctic. The field research for this degree has involved spending four months a year for three years camping along with 4500 pairs of Gentoo Penguins on Cuverville Island in the Antarctic Peninsula region. There, she became the first British woman to lead an Antarctic field research station, and as such, has recently been elected into the Antarctic Club. She has also carried out field research in the Canadian Arctic. She has been working on expedition ships for the past three years predominantly in the Arctic, Antarctic, and Atlantic waters.

Assistant Cruise Director Kristy Royce graduated from Boston University with a degree in cultural anthropology and journalism in 1991. Since then, her interest in other cultures, tribal arts, and dramatic landscapes have led her to some of the most remote regions of the world. Her first post- college job took her to Sydney where she met her soon-to-be husband, Ashton Palmer. Prior to joining the M/S Explorer in 1997, Kristy worked as Program and Projects Manager for a Seattle-based expedition cruise company. In addition, she has led several land-based tours throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, and Indonesia.

Naturalists Trip Dennis received his B.S. in Biology from Hampden-Sydney College in Farmville, Virginia. His interest in colonial seabirds began in 1991 while working for the National Audubon Society's Project Puffin in Maine. During his two summers on the puffin re-establishment project, he assisted with the puffin identification and locating new nesting burrows as well as intensive feeding studies on Common and Arctic terns. His work with Project Puffin motivated him to pursue an advanced degree studying colonial seabirds. He is an avid birder who enjoys sharing his knowledge and love of birds, especially seabirds, with others.

Naturalist Brent R. Houston has been traveling as a naturalist on expeditions ships for the past 5 years from the Arctic to the Antarctic. He recently complete seven seasons of wildlife research for the US Antarctic Program at McMurdo and Palmer Stations, and has surveyed nearly every penguin colony along the Antarctic peninsula. His long-term ecological study of the Antarctic environment has focused on populations of Adelie, Chinstrap and Gentoo penguins, skuas, petrels, cormorant, gulls, and many species of seals and whales. Besides traveling and studying wildlife, his interests include photography, hiking, winter sports, cycling, writing, and collecting environmental quotes. ( My notes. Brent is mentioned in Ron Naveen's book as one of the penguin researchers.)

Ashton Palmer studied law and politics for 2 years at Sutton Colfield College in England prior to his leap into the world of travel and adventure tourism. As far back as he can remember, he has had the desire to travel and explore the world. His dreams became a reality with the purchase of a one-way air ticket to Australia at the ripe old age of 19, where he met his wife Kristy Royce. He had led tours and worked on expedition ships for the last 6 years throughout North and South America , as well as Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, and South Georgia. Through his work, he has become increasingly interested in environmental issues and he continues to take classes on subjects of this nature. In addition, he recently spent time volunteering at the manu Wildlife Center in southeastern Peru where he focused on bird, plant and mammal identification.

Charles Wheatley is a marine biologist, oceanographer and research diver, with extensive experience in tropical, temperate an d polar waters, He is also a marine naturalist and lecturer at Scripps Aquarium and teaches oceanography and environmental sciences in San Diego. His interest in marine ecology has taken him to all seven continents and he has conducted field surveys in the Caribbean, Antarctic, the sub-Antarctic, and throughout the Pacific. He has been an integral park of the of the M/S Explorer and World Discoverer teams since 1987, an lecturer, divermaster, and/or expedition leader participating in over 75 voyages to nearly every hidden corner of the globe.


Some of the books I read both before and after the trip are:

Antarctic Oasis, Under the Spell of South Georgia; Tim and Pauline Carr; W.W. Norton and Company, New York 1998

The Endurance Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition; Caroline Alexander; Alfred A. Knopf, NY 1998

Collins Birds of Southern South America and Antarctica; Martin R. de la Pena and Maurice Rumboli; HarperCollins; 1998

Waiting to fly My Escapades with the Penguins of Antarctica; Ron Naveen; William Morrow and Company, Inc. New York

Terra Incognita; Sara Wheeler; Random House; NY

1. Introduction  |  2. Drake Passage - Antarctic Peninsula  |  3.  Scotia Sea to So. Georgia  | 4  Falkland  Islands

|Appendix A So. Georgia Bird List | Appendix B Costs, leaders | Top of page