Travelogue South America

November 2007

Last Wednesday (17 January 2018) club members greatly enjoyed a photographic talk by our own Barbara Fleming describing her six-week cruise to Antarctica, via South America, in November 2007.

 Barbara began her travelogue with a short Audio-Visual about her cruise ship, the MV Discovery, on which she had voyaged down the Atlantic Ocean, passing Lisbon and Madeira, crossing the Atlantic toward Brazil and then Uruguay, and so progressing southwards towards Antarctica.

 The cruise paused at Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina founded in 1810, situated in the mouth of the River Plate.  Barbara showed us photographs of the roads and buildings of this large cosmopolitan city.  Many encompassed the apparent obsession with the tango and Evita Peron, including Evita’s tomb, the presidential palace (Casa Rosada), and an evening of tango dancing in a nightclub.

 From Buenos Aires, the cruise progressed to the Falkland Islands landing first at West Point Island and then at the capital Stanley.  The former was “a bit like northern Scotland” and had white sandy beaches and lots of birds.  Barbara showed us shots of skuas, caracaras (from the falcon family), albatrosses, rockhopper penguins, egrets, kelp geese, oystercatchers, turkey vultures, and the Falkland thrush.  The latter was more British than Britain and images included the harbour, colourful buildings, the War Memorial, Government House, Thatcher Drive, the Museum, and Christ Church Cathedral with its arch of whalebones near the entrance.

 The MV Discovery then headed south for 400 miles to the island of South Georgia.  Here the main focus of interest was the town of Grytviken (population 76) but more of the coastline was explored (albeit mainly in the fog!).  Again, there were plenty of wildlife pictures – seals, elephant seals, king penguins and gentoo penguins.  And shots of the mountain scenery and Grytviken including the Museum (where exhibitions included whaling and the expeditions of Sir Ernest Shackleton, the British explorer), the old whaling station and associated relics, the church, and Shackleton’s grave.

 From South Georgia the cruise continued to the South Shetlands archipelago in Antarctica, passing over the spot where the MV Explorer had sunk (fortunately without any loss of life) about two weeks previously, and going ashore at the Argentinian Camara base.  Images from here included ice shelves, icebergs, glaciers, petrels (including storm-petrels), albatrosses, and chinstrap penguins.

 The final part of the cruise saw MV Discovery returning north to Ushuaia in the Argentinian part of Patagonia.  Barbara’s pictures from here included the dramatic scenery of the Parque Nationale Tierra Del Fuego.

 As we know, Barbara is a highly proficient photographer.  And she is also an extremely enthusiastic traveller.  So, not only were her images beautifully taken and presented, but her commentary unquestionably captured the excitement of all the wonders she encountered on this dramatic holiday adventure.  She truly made the cold of Antarctica feel cold!  This was fascinating, and marvellously illustrated, travelogue, about a region that relatively few have been able to visit, and it was much appreciated by the assembled members.