We recently chatted to Kaylan Worsnop about what it means to be an Expedition Leader (EL) for One Ocean Expeditions. Our ELs produce trip reports for every voyage, and so we have included a snippet of Kaylan’s notes from our recent 16-night Falkland Islands, South Georgia and Antarctica voyage, onboard the Akademik Ioffe.
Kaylan: “An Expedition Leader is responsible for planning the ever-fluid itinerary of an expedition and running the day to day operations of the team. But the real work is making choices that put people in the right place at the right time, to have the kind of experience that will stay with them forever. These choices are informed by experience and carried out by a skilled team whose motivation is cultivated through inspiration and leadership. As a group, the Expedition Team makes the dreams of the passengers come to life, but it is the responsibility of the Expedition Leader to shape the journey by artfully navigating the shifting challenges of a demanding environment. The choices made determine the success or failure of a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Our time on the Peninsular has been stellar.
A morning cruise in Active Sound offered beautiful ice sculptures of blue glacial bergs, our first sightings of Adelie penguins on ice. But perhaps the most exciting, we had a curious Leopard Seal swimming between the boats, in amongst the ice. We then found two Weddell seals, a Crabeater seal and three more Leopard Seals hauled out on ice. The afternoon excursion to Brown Bluff began before we even left the ship. We got into position off-shore and made our first continental landing with molting Gentoo and Adelie chicks.
Mikkelsen Harbour the following morning was idyllic. Blue skies and calm seas. Glaciers all around. A postcard moment. Cierva cove in the afternoon left our guests speechless. Stunning ice became merely a backdrop for gregarious, social humpback whales moving between the boats, giving everyone a show.
Paradise Harbour lived up to its name the following morning. Flat calm water dotted with brash surrounded the base. We were greeted by the station’s doctor who welcomed us into the only building that survived the historic base fire, now being converted to a museum. Half of the guests hiked to various high points to look out over the bay, while the other half cruised with whales and ventured into the brash filled Skontorp Cove. Perfectly Antarctic. Calm flat waters made for pleasant afternoon cruising with humpbacks and ice. Calvings were not just observed but captured on video and played on ship screens afterwards. To top it off, a Weddell Seal hauled out on the landing beach and graced us with her song. The most clear and lengthy Weddell Seal song I’ve heard in all of my trips down here.
A gale force storm moving through the Drake had been pushing wind down the Gerlache for two days now. Charlotte Bay proved the perfect place to hide. We followed depth soundings, moving the ship deeper into the Bay than ever before. There we found whales. Everywhere. Every boat and kayak had a close encounter. We watched bubblenet feeding so closely, the sea sounded like a boiling soup. Lunge feeding, pectoral fin slapping, tail lobbing, full body rolling, all were observed. But perhaps the most incredible experience was watching a young humpback breach over and over and over again. First in the distance, then between two boats, then off the bow of my Zodiac, then in the bay near the ship. The show was endless. The groups were so curious, so friendly, many were moved to tears. The afternoon was spent at Portal Point. The wind and blowing snow gave folks a taste of what they had expected from Antarctica. We opened hikes in both directions from the landing beach and had happy people moving between lookouts, sitting in the snow and on the rocks, watching the surf, reflecting.
Whalers Bay was moody as ever. John Dudeney gave a history walk through the remains of the whaling station and folks were eager to go between the base remains and the window. Several folks entertained us with swimming antics and the diversity of the scenery offered on the trip was remarked upon by many. A totally unique place. Half Moon Island appeared dubious at first approach with a thick fog surrounding us. Within 30 minutes of our arrival, visibility completely improved for everyone’s final excursion of the trip. The walk to the chinstraps was enjoyed by nearly all guests. We even had a young elephant seal on the beach, mixing with some juvenile fur seals. We ran this one a little long so no one felt rushed on their final excursion and nostalgia and tears flowed on the Zodiac rides back to the ship.
For more information about our 16-night Falklands, South Georgia and Antarctica voyage click here.
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