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twangster

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  1. Love
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    Back to the beach.



    These guys can sometimes show some aggression but our guides deal with them.

    Ready for some more cute pup pics?











    There is our smiling assistant excursion team leader to help us back on the zodiacs.

    Despite the snow it was very beautiful.

  2. Like
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    It was time to walk back to the landing site but a few more photos along the way.










    Pups everywhere.

  3. Like
  4. Like
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    A short time later we come to the King penguin colony.


    Various stages of molting.










    Penguins as far as you can see.






  5. Like
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    Hours later the weather had changed and it was snowing pretty good.  Finally our group number was called.





    We leave our life jackets with the excursion team and head up the path to meet a guide who will escort us to the penguin colony.
    These little guys were watching us from a few feet away.

    Like the penguins we join the Silversea highway and make off across the tundra.

    Everywhere around us are penguins and fur seals.







  6. Like
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    The order of the groups has me last today resulting in a more leisurely morning.  Yesterday in the first grouping made for a rushed breakfast. 
    Apparently there was some drama recovering the zodiac tours when that snow arrived yesterday. That storm also brought 40 knot winds and it was difficult to move guests from the zodiacs to the ship.  The ship had to reposition and another attempt was made.  Guests were stuck on the zodiacs briefly where they broke out the cold weather emergency kit and passed out hand warmers.  They also have a routine which includes exercise to keep the blood moving.  Eventually everyone was brought back on board safely.  I missed all this drama being in the first grouping yesterday.
    It goes to show you should always prepare for the worst and fully dress out despite what the weather looks like outside the window. 
    Time for some breakfast.
  7. Like
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    This has been our day cruising up the coast of South Georgia Island.  Destination unknown.

    Bertrab Glacier maybe?

    Some of the more interesting icebergs.




    Northern part of the Ross Glacier I think.






    This went zooming past pretty close.



    Our friend the Albatross bringing us good weather.


    Antarctic Prion.


    Weather has been variable.  It's sunny then it's not.  Clear then misty.  Where did that Albatross go?




  8. Like
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    Back on board I grabbed the map to show the location of our first stop at South Georgia Island.

    Looks like the icebergs are ganging up on us forming a blockade.

    I've heard when in Rome one should do as the Romans.  In South Georgia I decided to do like the penguins and eat outside.  Lunch at The Grill.  

    As I sat there Bing Crosby came over the speakers singing "White Christmas".  Then it started to snow.   Well played Bing.  Well played.


    The last of the zodiacs were coming back.





    Once everyone was back on board and with snow increasing they have announced there will be a change in the afternoon plans.  Details coming at 14:00.
  9. Like
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    We head over to the main beach.

     
    Where we find a motherlode of King penguins.

    ... and some Elephant seals.






    Some Chinstrap penguins shuffled in.




  10. Love
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    Of course fur seals and elephant seals abound as well.

    All of these animals coexist peacefully.


    More pups!  Our zodiac driver tells us they are now much larger since his last visit a few weeks ago.









    Seal condominium.


  11. Like
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    A colony of Macaroni penguins.


    Similar looking to the Rockhopper penguins we saw in the Falklands but different.  These little cuties are a big bigger.










    Penguins like to nest in the hills for safety so there was a penguin highway climbing the hillside.

    Too many to count.


  12. Like
    twangster got a reaction from Skigoofy in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    A quick word about the complimentary parka.  
    This worked quite well for me.  It is a two part design with an inner bubble style jacket that zips into the red waterproof outer shell.  I didn't keep mine zippered into the shell, I simply put on the shell over the jacket.
    Sizing for me was perfect. I am typically a large ski jacket and this large fit well.  I generally wore a long sleeve t-shirt and the Silversea parka on all excursions and I was never cold.


    The shell did a great job.  Despite being splashed often on zodiac rides I was never wet inside.  
  13. Like
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    As we got closer to Cooper Bay land was emerging through the mist.






    All around the ship marine life was seen.  From seals, whales and penguins it was quite active.



    Penguins are fast!  I was lucky with this shot.

    Of course more icebergs.

    Finally we were close enough that the mist faded and we could see the green land of South Georgia Island.



  14. Like
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    Having said that, this one is particularly close and is quite striking when looking out my balcony window.



    Easily taller than the ship.

  15. Like
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    A word about the internet on board.
    When I first boarded the Silver Wind I saw the included internet package performed much like the internet did on the Silver Origin.  That was just under 2Mbps down and just under 1Mbps up.  Since I am doing this live thread and planned to upload a lot of photos I splurged for the Premium Internet upgrade.  
    That wasn't cheap for an 18 night cruise at $345 but it was essential if I wanted to upload as many pictures as I hoped to during this cruise.
    The Premium Internet increased the performance to what has been fairly typical up to this point:

    This is the same performance I observed on the Silver Origin with the premium internet upgrade making me wonder if it is a fleet standard.
    I am hopeful this level of performance will continue for the remainder of the cruise as we head farther south in the days to come.  It's not clear to me if Starlink has an operational Southerly limit that we may venture past next week.  Time will tell.
    On my travels with ships that belong to sister cruise lines such as Celebrity and Royal Caribbean International I've learned that they tend to install multiple Starlink systems on a particular ship and they load balance guest devices across them by associating each device to a particular Starlink antenna and modem.  This is evidenced by different devices having a different public IP address.  
    A benefit of the premium internet package is the ability to connect four devices at the same time.  Having multiple devices connected has allowed me to observe at least two public IP addresses on different devices which leads me to believe there are at least two Starlink systems on the Silver Wind just as there were on the Silver Origin.
    The Silver Wind has been upgraded with newer WiFi access points.  Professional grade WiFi is something I do for a living so it's a topic I'm somewhat familiar with.  The platform on the Silver Wind is very good and it has performed well.

    When the onboard system reports medium usage I've continued to experience the same ~9Mbps down and ~4Mbps up performance.  With the ship rolling a little today the internet has remained stable.
    I've also seen this level of performance on Royal Caribbean's largest Oasis class ships so it's not uncommon for the RCG family.
    If this level of performance continues while in Antarctica I'll be thrilled with my $345 upgrade despite not being thrilled about the price.   
    In summary I'm happy with the performance of the internet onboard and that they have upgraded the WiFi technology on the Silver Wind.  By placing access points in each suite as noted earlier in this thread they have done everything they can to ensure the best possible experience.  
  16. Like
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    Biosecurity inspection at 14:00.
    We were called by our zodiac group number to the deck 5 lobby for an inspection of our outerwear,  
    With that complete it's free time once again.
    The ship has a slight roll side to side which made my afternoon workout rather spirited.  Great view though.

  17. Like
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    Biosecurity briefing.

    First we watch a video narrated by Sir David Attenborough.  

    The South Georgia Islands take biosecurity very seriously and we will have another session this afternoon where we present all of our outerwear for the crew to go over to ensure it is clean.
    As far as the Avian Flu...

    The South Georgia Islands have mostly closed to visitors on land due to the Avian Flu.  The goal is for us to have zodiac and kayak tours but without a landing.  Weather conditions, sea state and an advanced scouting will dictate how our day progresses once we get to Cooper Bay, our first stop.
  18. Like
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    The walk back to town was easy.  


    When we boarded the bus we were given a postcard with a stamp already on it that we could mail home.  Here is the post office.

    A Catholic Church.



    The Anglican Church.


    Our guide had pointed out this house due to the brick construction.  There is no brickyard in the Falkland Islands.  The bricks would have had to have been shipped in back in the day, no small task.












  19. Like
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    From the second floor:
    A sample of the rocks from the area.




    The Curiosity Corner was a great way to feel the fur and feathers of the animals we have or may see.

    A gift store.  Stanley will be our last contact with civilization in the form of a town so this was our last chance for last minute shopping.  

     

  20. Wow
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    The next stop was at the home of a resident who has become vocal against the whaling industry.  
    They have several skeletons on display left over from whalers.








  21. Like
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    The next stop was a peat bog.  Peat was the primary source of heating and cooking fuel back in the day.  



    Despite looking like dried mud, there is actually a lot of energy in these "bricks".  Our guide recalled memories of her childhood managing the peat to heat the house like some folks manage woodpiles to do the same. 


    Absent of trees, peat it is, or was.  Most homes now use home heating oil and they have tanks for this purpose at each residence.



    Stanley isn't a large town at around 3,500 people in the area.  The primary place to grocery shop:

    My HOA won't let me park an RV on my lawn.  I could only imagine if I parked a tank.

  22. Like
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    The moon of the summer solstice.

    With a guest appearance from Jupiter - the small dot on the right.

  23. Like
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    Nothing like coming back to hot chocolate and other beverages to warm you up.

  24. Sad
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    The Tea House.


    Unfortunately the group before us took forever to load the zodiacs on the way here and we lost a lot of time.  We had 10 minutes at the nesting site and by the time we reached the Tea House they were closing it.



    Time to head back to the ship.


  25. Like
    twangster got a reaction from Cactus527 in Live from the Wind(s) of Antarctica. Dec. 19, 2023.   
    There were many Albatross soaring above and buzzing the colony close to ground but not landing.  I suspect this was part of the ritual to find a mate, a bit of showing off.



    Definitely some mating rituals on display.

    Some birds of prey looking for a meal.







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