At Sea to the Falkland Islands

Nov 06, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer

Today was the first of two days at sea, with South Georgia behind us and the Falkland Islands ahead of us. At the beginning of our voyage we had two days in West Falkland; now we are looking forward to a day in East Falkland.

There might be two days of lazing around, fair enough, but there are plenty of lectures, good food, camaraderie, and images to pore over and select. Soon the photo team will be collecting these images for the wonderful guest slideshow. There are also contributions to be made to the “Images to be Shared” folder on the kiosk computers.

Some of us will definitely think about putting in time at the gym or at least taking a long walk when we arrive in East Falkland to balance all of the tempting treats, delicacies, and great meals. Today, for example, we had a Japanese lunch, a lavish buffet of colors and flavors. In celebration I included a picture of some of the galley team: above from left to right, pastry chef Michiyo Tanaka, executive chef Sara Henstam, and sous chef Magnus Haeggman rushing to his work station.

We have two days to digest—not just food, but everything we’ve experienced so far. Time to reflect on some of the music of the voyage, like the grunts, growls, and sneezes of the elephant seals; perhaps remember the stiff dignity of the king penguins; or cheer for the resurgence of bird populations after the recent removal of Norway rats from South Georgia. Of course, that is just the tip of the iceberg, and we have had plenty of those. 

Our own and shared images act as aids to our memory of the voyage. A lot of what we have seen and heard might be better understood with the lectures, talks, and conversations on board and ashore. Hopefully, though, there will be new seeds germinating in our “field of wonders” to take home and beyond. Aside from the obvious—whales, seals, and birds—my field will certainly gain some tiny plants, a lichen or two, a favorite sea creature, and surely a rock face and a glacier, as well as some of the expressions on human and non-human faces.

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About the Author

Dennis Cornejo


Dennis began scuba diving during the mid-1970s as part of a research project. At the time he was a research associate at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Arizona, studying the population of winter hibernating sea turtles.  What began as a scientific study soon became a conservation project that expanded to three species of sea turtles along the entire Pacific coast of Mexico.  This project received major funding from the World Wildlife Fund and was eventually taken over directly by that agency with Kim Clifton and Dennis Cornejo as co-principal investigators.

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