01 Feb 2018

SOE: Balleny Islands: Fin Whales, Blue Whales & Lunar Eclipses

It wasn’t on our schedule but as we had a few extra hours before having to turn north to Campbell Island we made a small detour to the remote and seldom visited Balleny Islands.  The decision has been rewarded a thousand times over with an incredible encounter with a group of seven Fin Whales and two Blue Whales.  We watched in awe and amazement as these leviathans of the sea swum close the vessel allowing us unprecedented views (and hopefully photos) of them.  Both these species were hunted ruthlessly for over a century, pushing them to the edge of extinction … so encounters like this give us encouragement that they are slowly making a comeback and that future generations will enjoy them.

©OBelonovich

 

As we approached Sturge Island, the southernmost Island in the Balleny group, in the early hours of the morning (1.30am to be precise) we witnessed a full lunar eclipse.  As the earth’s shadow moved across the moon the clear sky and the rugged snow capped Island made for a spectacular setting and experience. Lunar eclipses are rare and so are calm,clear nights at the Ballenys,  so the combination made for a very special and unique occasion.

©SarahGutowsky



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