Japan Winter Safari: Dense Pack-ice on our Farewell Cruise

Ben’s Update from the Japan Winter Safari:

We scrambled down to the harbour before dawn where our charter boat waited, ready for our last excursion into the pack-ice to photograph the Steller’s Sea Eagles, Whilte-tailed Eagles, the marine bird life, and the dramatic scenery one last time.

The boat started out at exactly 05:30 in preparation for the 06:10 sunrise, but the pack-ice was so thick and packed together that the captain had difficulty maneuvering out of the harbour. With great skill and knowledge of the ocean and the conditions he managed to find a narrow passageway through the ice and then brought the boat around broadside to the east. We were in an ideal position for the sunrise.

The sunrise was breathtaking with iridescent reflections on the ice, sea, and snow, turning the whole world into an ethereal peach colored landscape. Very few clouds studded around a deep blue sky, and with the Eagles, Gulls and Crows in the foreground, the effect was electrifying.

3 Wim Sunrise WTE 155-150

And of course the interactions, fights, squabbles, confrontations between the birds started almost immediately.

3 Wim Eagle Tussle 287-277

As the sun rose we captured backlit and then side lit shots with a golden aura all around. Simply magical photography!

Before we knew it, the time had come to return to the mainland for breakfast and then to pack and depart for the airport.

We have arrived in Tokyo, eager for dinner. Sadly, this is the farewell dinner for this group as everyone heads off home tomorrow to different corners of the world …