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Ultimate Antarctica 2009

Joe McDonald's Daily Journal

elephant Seal

Read my concise summary of this trip, with photos, in my Trip Report
or view a larger portfolio from the trip.

Day 1 – Leaving Ushuaia.
Our 78 passengers and 8 leaders all arrived, with only a few last minute worries as one pax disappeared en route, with Aerlinias Argentinas giving two contradictory stories. As it turned out, the pax mistakenly got off the plane at a stopover en route, and despite the difficulties finally arrived late the evening before departure. One of the leaders luggage disappeared in transit as well, but turned up miraculously as we started loading the luggage onto a truck for the transfer to the boat.
Our evening departure went smoothly, with warm temperatures, a light breeze, and one of the nicest days Ushuaia had had in several weeks.

Day 2 – At Sea
The seas were mildly rough and many of the passengers were holed up in their cabins, either sick or avoiding being so. Outside, in the wind that turned the seas to chop, cape petrels flew by the scores, zipping by the boat from all directions, and often circling about, right behind the stern. Occasionally a Wandering Albatross would pass on motionless wings, and, as we neared the Falklands, a few Black-browed Albatrosses wheeled about, passing close by on some of their passes. Wilson’s Petrels and a few Southern Fulmars were recorded as well.

Day 3 – New Island, north and south.
We landed without incident on the north side of new island where a large Black-browed Albatross colony lines the steep Atlantic coast and where, an hundred or more feet above the sea, Rockhopper Penguins also nested. The shooting went surprisingly well for the first shoot, with everyone being respectful of the wildlife and, for the most part, to each other. The hike up was a fairly gentle upward trek, although near the colony one must make a sharp left turn off the muddy dirt track. On the way back, I took a different route to look for wayward, confused souls and almost got turned around myself, but everyone made it down without getting lost.
In the afternoon we visited the southern end of the island where, in incredibly calm seas and weather, we spent the time around the settlement. Some of the people went up to another Albatross colony where several shot great images of flying King Cormorants, in addition to the albatrosses and penguins. Mary and I, both beat and hurting from our morning hike, stayed along the beach where Mary worked on macro and underwater shots, and I waited on Pied Oystercatchers. At one point an Oystercatcher captured a large limpet  that it brought to a flat rock right in front of me, full-frame, but as it hammered away on the limpet a caracara swooped in, chasing the oystercatcher off and stealing the limpet. Fortunately, the bird stayed and ate the stolen mussle, but I’d have preferred to have blasted away on the oystercatcher. Tony Chater, one of the owners of the island, visited and offered for sale his books and posters and first-issue Falklands stamps, and, in all, it was a very pleasant and rewarding shoot.

Day 4 – West Point and Carcass Islands
We visited two islands today, and remained along the shoreline and settlement for each. West Point has an albatross colony but the hike is arduous, and with the luck we had at New Island the trip simply wasn’t worth it. The settlement shooting was incredible, with Turkey Vultures, Striated Caracaras, Kelp and Upland Geese, Flightless Steamer Ducks, and a variety of songbirds, including rather cooperative Long-tailed Meadowlarks and Austral Thrushes. In the late morning, as a strong wind picked up, we visited the settlement and the table-full assortment of pastries and sweets, where we ate to excess.
In the afternoon, we headed to the Gentoo colony on Carcass. Most of the group headed there, but Mary and I stayed behind on the beach where we worked Common Snipe and Pied Oystercatchers, the latter poking into the mushy sand at the tide edge for large marine worms, which it consumed by the dozen. Periodically the bird would fly off to feed a half-grown chick (which we shot as well), and, in all, the shooting was the best ever for this bird. The penguin shooters did extremely well also, with a lot of shooting occurring at the beach where the birds surfed in.
From there Mary and I and about half the group zodiaked to the settlement where we chatted with Rob and Larraine McGil, the owners of the island, where, again, we ate ourselves silly. We hadn’t seen Rob for two years, so it was great to catch up on news about mutual friends and the improvements they’ve made at the settlement for tourism.

Day 5 – Saunder’s Island at the Neck
A leader scouting party of John, Wayne, and Darrill headed ashore in a stiff wind, but the protected south facing beach was safe and soon after the group landed on the beach. Near gale force winds were blowing from the north, making rockhopper or albatross shooting on the cliff virtually impossible with the wind and salt spray. Minutes after we landed, however, the rains, and hail, started, and for the next two long, cold hours we fought the elements before heading back to the boat. Ironically, after lunch, as we started east towards South Georgia, the skies cleared and in almost windless seas, we cruised through the Falklands, but the seas were rough and too dangerous to photograph from the deck.
Day 6-7  - en passage to South Georgia
The night was rocky with a constant turbulent sea that began yesterday afternoon. John, followed by Darrell, gave lectures, and afterwards in slowly calming seas several of us went on deck to photograph Cape Petrels, Giant Petrels, and Wandering Albatrosses. One Gray-headed Albatross was spotted, and at least one White-Throated Petrel, as well an various prions and, late in the day, a Light-Mantled Sooty Albatross that lazily circled the boat closeby.

Day 8 Rosita Beach
We arrived at South Georgia around noon, visible as a vague outline against a bank of fog. After lunch, we headed in to Right Whale Bay for our first landing, and the staff, including Mary and I, landed to check out the best spot for the group to land amidst the heavy breakers and the fur seals. While we were scouting, Monica radioed for us to evacuate as the breaker’s size had increased, with 4 and 5 foot swells. With some difficulty, we did so.
Around 5 we hit another beach, Rosita, where we landed without incident and photographed a small group of King Penguins, the tour’s first, and fur seals and South Georgia Pintail Ducks. Confined to a rather small area everyone concentrated on the subjects at hand, quite successfully.

Day 9 Salisbury Plains
We hit the beach at around 7:30 with manageable swells that only intensified as the landings progressed. Some zodiacs were heavily bathed as a large breaker stormed over the top, but everyone got off safely.
Salisbury has a fantastic penguin colony and while we waited for the zodiacs large groups materialized in the surf and sailed by us to shore. It was fantastic to see, but our gear was still packed as we unloaded the boats.
That penguin activity continued through the morning, with the highlight being a King Penguin that was killed by Giant Petrels which then fought and scrambled like vultures over the carcass. It made for dramatic shooting and action to watch.
The surf intensified and getting off Salisbury was a bit difficult, and several times some member of the staff was almost dragged under or dunked. One of the sailors was, pulled under as a zodiac literally ran over him. He emerged, a completely wet duck, on the other side and despite the cold and his soaking he continued to catch zodiacs and help load until manning the last boat out. Admirable!
Fortuna Bay
At 3 we disembarked again, landing without too much trouble at Fortuna Bay. Far across the plains lies the glacier which we visited on a past trip but this time we stayed on the beach. Several folks headed uphill to look for Light-mantled Sooty Albatrosses, and I stayed along the beach where I watched the cliff face, hoping to find one from below. I was successful, and eventually got a very clear view of this beautiful subtly marked bird.
A very tame or habituated Reindeer walked down the beach and, when I found it, fed upon the vegetation along a cliff side. Nursing Elephant seal pup, semi-aggressive Fur Seals, and King Penguins rounded out the afternoon.
As we ate dinner we were continually drawn onto the deck to photograph Lenticular Clouds and a spectacular sunset where, in the last light of the day, we encountered iceberg brash that reflected the last orange light of the day. Spectacular.

Day 10 Godthul Beach
Godthul beach, our first landing of the day, did not appear to offer much, just a small Gentoo colony high on a hill, old whale bones and the remains of whaling boats, and shoreline seals.  Appearances are deceiving, as the shoot was wonderful, with the folks hiking to the Gentoos obtaining a wonderful panoramic view of the mountains and bay, with penguins in the foreground, and the shoreline activity was constant.
Antarctic Fur Seals and Southern Elephant Seals were abundant, and tame, and I shot my best animal-in-habitat images. Some of the Fur Seals displayed some aggression but only momentarily, and it was a joy to be working seals that settled down and calmly ignored us. The highlight of the beach was a pair of baby Fur Seals, one about 5 and another 2 days old, that nursed, played with the mother, and, surprisingly, were visited by the beachmaster male who displayed surprisingly curiosity. While seals are crushed by fighting or over-eager bulls, this one came close but never laid upon or humped over the sleeping pups.
At 2 we headed back out to the only inhabited harbor on the island. It was raining and the village wasn’t inspiring to me – in contrast to my last visit, when it was – but the weaner elephant seals and Pintail Ducks were good. The Museum, with its various exhibits, is always worth another visit and we spent a fair amount of time inside before heading to Shackleton’s Grave for the obligatory toast to the Boss.
The evening ended with a cocktail/drink fest hosted by JVO, followed, after dinner, by a very late ‘party’ with the Aussies and Brits, and …. A hangover the next day.

Day 11 -- Drygalski Fjord
Today was a boat day, and as we headed up the steep sides and breath-taking landscape of D Fjord a light rain and fog obscured our view. There was little to shoot, with black rock against snow or a foggy sky, but as we proceeded deeper into the fjord the rain stopped, the sun appeared, and for the remainder of the day the light, and the shooting, was beautiful.
The fjord is one of the strong holds for the beautiful pure white snow petrel, and we had several groups of 3 to 5 birds flying about, sometimes almost kiting above the bow of the boat. Nearly everyone that tried obtained some shots, and some, like Bob the bird guy, did incredibly well with a 300 and 1.4X tele-converter. The glacier front was, as usual, impressive, and the light held as we did several angles with the boat.
Larsen’s Bay
Two different zodiac shifts took passengers and leaders up this relatively narrow fjord, where we filmed SG Cormorant, kelp gulls, many Antarctic Terns, and, for some, tiny views of one of the world’s rarest birds, the S G pipit. Each 2 hour shift went incredibly fast, and for me, on the last shift, 6PM and the return to the boat came too quickly, as if we’d only started.

Day 12 Saint Andrew’s Bay
This, perhaps the most spectacular King Penguin colony in S G if not the world, can be a difficult landing, with the penguin beach facing an unbroken expanse of sea. With the wrong winds, or swells, immense breakers can roll onto the beach making landings, or worse, departures, difficult or impossible. Today we were lucky, with virtually no wind, and aside from contending with some challenging swells the landings were relatively easy.
At this time of year there are no eggs or chicks, just nearly full-sized mollywogs, clad in chestnut brown feathers that more closely resemble fur coats. There were scores, if not hundreds or even thousands of dead chicks, but in a colony this size one could expect that. The surf photography was rewarding for many, and several folks caught surfing or almost leaping King’s in the surf. Mating, courting, feeding, and colony shots rounded out the day, with the addition of a large herd of caribou that grazed close for nice shots.
Mary and I, and about a dozen others, stayed out all day, returning as the light died, at 5PM when swells around the boat made a 5’ difference between the highest and lowest position of the landing!

Day 13 -- Royal Bay, Cooper Bay, Gold Harbor
Today was supposed to be the Macaroni Penguin day, and we had anchored overnight on a relatively windless side of Royal Bay. Our plan, after breakfast, was to zodiac around the surf-side rocks that front this rookery, but the winds were so stiff we passed on even launching a zodiac to investigate. Instead, we headed to Cooper Bay to try another landing, and, en route, Darrell and I did a joint presentation where I talked about making panoramas and exposure composites, and Darrell did a presentation on HDR.
We couldn’t land at Cooper Bay either because of the winds, and sailed once more for another attempt, at Gold Harbor. We arrived by 2PM and immediately started boarding zodiacs in a light overcast and warm temperatures, but by the time we hit shore the overcast and turned to a light sleet and freezing rain shower, and the temperature had dropped.
Still, Gold Harbor was productive, with Gentoos, Kings, and Elephant Seals about. Elephant Seals were still mating, and we saw several attempt to mate, or perhaps do so, wrapping an enormous front flipper over their tiny mate. A few seals fought, and several literally galloped across the beach to chase off rivals, and a few photographers had a real bout between rival males on the beach. Babies were curious and many slithered up to investigate, and a few fur seals swam by. The weather cleared for a short time and we had a light sun, but soon the skies closed again and for the remainder of the afternoon we had progressively heavy freezing rain and sleet. By the last zodiac, at 6, those still ashore were soaked through.

Day 14  Ocean Bay
We were hoping for a last chance at Macaronis, but the wind continued, with gusts of over 50 knots so we cut our losses and headed to one of the safest anchorages in SG, at Ocean Bay. This protected harbor is ringed by mountains – which blocked the wind – and hosts a small colony of Elephant Seals, SG Fur Seals, and King penguins.
I carried my 500 ashore, figuring I’d be working the beach, but as I headed along the shoreline I left it behind, and promptly saw Bob and John shooting near-frame filling shots of Antarctic terns. Along the rocky side of the beach SG Cormorants and terns were easy to shoot, but I had to content myself with more ‘animals in habitat’ with the seals and an old, beached boat.
At noon we had a huge lunch, a traditional Argentinean barbeque, and, this being Mary’s Birthday, a spectacular birthday cake.
In the afternoon, under very clear skies we started our journey to the Orkney’s with a heavy wind and increasingly rough seas. Prions and petrels were everywhere, and motivated by a few hearty souls I took out my 500mm and my old 1D Mark II to try shooting flight shots. The performance of the Mark II compared to the Mark III was incredible, and I caught flight shots of storm petrels and prions against contrasty waves that would have defeated my Mark IIIs. That was a depressing test, considering the cost of the IIIs and the near valueless IIs.
Day 15 At Sea to the Orkney’s
The seas were rough and the skies fairly overcast, and almost everyone spent their time indoors, attending some lectures and doing editing. John did a thorough review of Photoshop, and Anna did a lecture on elephant and fur seals, and we watched the first half of a Shackleton movie.

Day 16 Orkneys
We arrived at the Orkney’s in the very early morning, after one of the roughest nights at sea we’ve had on this trip. Fortunately everyone was in bed – or being tossed out of bed – so balancing was not an issue. Still, it was a fairly sleepless or fitful sleep night, punctuated at 1:30AM by a false alarm Abandon Ship Muster Alarm. Several, but not all, passengers dressed and headed to the lifeboats before Darril, who did so, got onto the PA system and told the rest it was a false alarm. Mary and I basically slept through it, I ignored it, and Mary incorporated the alarm into her dreams.
We shot icebergs through the morning, hoping to land at the oldest Antarctic base station but with 50 knot winds that was impossible. Many Snow Petrels and a few Antarctic Petrels flew about, and we tried lining these birds against the bergs. By late morning we were out of the icebergs and en route to Paulet Island, but by 6Pm we had turned around and returned to the Orkney’s, as our route south was blocked by pack ice.

Day 17  Brown Bluff
We traveled through the evening and night and morning hours, skirting the ice pack that encircled the eastern edge of the Peninsula. By 11 we were sailing into a channel leading to an Adelie Penguin colony, at Brown Bluff. Tabular icebergs were everywhere, and the scenery was spectacular.
At 3 we disembarked for an incredibly easy landing at Brown Bluff, with the best weather we’ve seen since leaving New Island in the Falklands. I took off my jacket and went with a vest and two layers of shirts, and even when wet from shooting low at tide line I stayed warm.
Adelies were building nests and laying eggs, and Kelp Gulls were busy stealing unguarded eggs. We shot some porposing penguins as they surfed in, and tobogganing penguins as they crossed the snow fields. Mary stayed prone on the beach for hours, trying to catch penguins as they surfed in or galloped onto the beach. By 6 the tide had begun to push pack ice back onto the shoreline and, with a concern about tides, we departed the beach in still exquisitely beautiful light.
In the evening, in low angular light we cruised out the way we came, past icebergs the size of prone skyscrapers glowing blue and gold and set against the sea fog.

Day 18 Hydrurga Rocks
It was a long sail to our first landing, Hydrurga Rocks, where a colony of Chinstrap Penguins reside. We arrived by 8:30 and disembarked by 9, landing in a very sheltered cove where we had to excavate snow steps to climb above the beach.
The setting was absolutely spectacular, as we were surrounded by iceberg filled bays and ringed by glaciated mountains where the ice walls lined most coves. The Chinstrap colony was small, but from an overlook we could incorporate the penguins and the iceberg backgrounds. Birds were on eggs and building nests, and in the surprisingly warm temperatures the shoot was incredibly pleasant. We were actually dressed too warmly, for as we sailed in we were cold and consequently overdressed. On land, I removed my vest and jacket and, with three layers of long-sleeved undershirts, I was fine.
In the afternoon we landed at Curverville, the site of another Gentoo Penguin colony. Wave action had carved a small expanse of beach where, above it, an unending snow field dotted with the rock outcrops serves as the penguin colony. Like most colonies, adults on the nest were dirty and stained, but those returning to shore were sparkling white.
I positioned myself along a haul out spot, and for nearly the entire afternoon I attempted wide-angle views of penguins walking through the shallow water, rushing to shore, or posing against the icebergs. The low angle, literally at seal height, was quite effective and the results were worth the discomfort.
Mary moved about, shooting some water-level material and spending a good deal of time at a point where the penguins were jumping out of the surf. From there we headed down the Arrera Channel in spectacular evening light, providing some of the most stunning landscapes of the trip. We arrived around dinner time at Andvord Bay and Neco Harbor where almost everyone stayed shooting until at least 10PM and most until 11PM. The light simply never quit and at least one participant stayed up all night shooting.

Day 19 Neco Harbor
The sun bathed the east-facing mountain tops in a spectacular alpen glow at 4AM and for those who witnessed it … the shots were stunning. Later, gentoo penguins circled the boat and provided the best opportunities for shooting penguins swimming underwater and, in the lake-flat waters, incredible reflections as penguins porpoised out of the sea. At 5:30 one of the faces of a hanging glacier crashed down into the bay, creating a smoke-like cloud that extended half across the bay. I was on the other side of the boat at the time and caught only the foggy smoke of snow dust particles.
After breakfast we did zodiac rides, and some folks had as many as 5 minke whales. Everyone shot wonderful ice formations and some penguins on ice. By the last morning zodiac ice had begun to close in the channel and returning to the boat was a challenge of weaving between ice flows, bergs, and thickening pack ice.
In the afternoon we visited Almirante Brown Station, an abandoned Argentinean station, where a small colony of gentoos nest and where a steep hill provided a fast down-hill slide for the energetic. We did zodiac rides from there, and encountered several Weddel’s Seals on snow-covered banks or on ice-flows. One, resting upon a flow, slid into the water while we watched and then hung motionless above the submerged glacial ice and my friend Johannn caught a spectacular polarized shot that really cut into the water, revealing wonderful color. I’d taken my polarizer off for more shutter speed, and shouldn’t have.
After dinner we headed through the Lemaire Channel in poor weather, but after yesterday’s cruise I think everyone needed a break.

Day 20 Pleneau Island and Ice Berg Alley
We did more zodiac cruises in the morning, hoping to find the still elusive Leopard Seal. The sky was overcast and a good wind made for very cold conditions – we were the furthest south we’d be at 65 degrees south. On our first cruise we worked icebergs until 2 Humpback Whales surfaced closeby and we followed them. The shots were pretty uneventful, merely the distinctive tiny dorsal fin of the ‘hump,’ visible every time the whale surfaced, exhaled, and ducked once again from sight.
Our whale photography ended abruptly when Mary spotted a seal approaching, which proved to be a Leopard! The seal approached curiously, and as we followed it, or it us, we ended up along a berg where the seal performed its underwater gymnastics, curving and bending and then, often without warning, surfacing before us. It was a spectacular show, but only a few of our zodiacs got our frantic radio message and saw the seal.
Our second zodiac cruise proved quite eventful. Mary’s zodiac found the seal again and, although the water was quite rough compared to the first trip, she got a series of great shots. We got to the seal late when the seas were challenging and shooting extremely difficult. While shooting, our zodiac was often pushed close to one of the bergs, often actually touching it. As we moved off, perhaps ten yards away and while we were still trying to shoot the seal, that glacier cracked and a wall of ice three times as long as our zodiac crashed into the sea. Huge ice falls create dangerously high and unstable waves, and our zodiac driver immediately hit the engine and sped away. We were safe, and headed back in, a bit more cautiously, to see if the seal stayed behind. As we did so the iceberg cracked again, this time with such explosive force that ice shards the size of bricks flew through the air, with some small ice rocks actually reaching our boat! After that, we stayed away from the edges of the bergs.
Ironically, just before we reached the seals we were actually sailing directly beneath some ice walls, photographing sword-like icicles that projected one foot to four feet in length. I joked about how I’d be toast if one of these ice walls collapsed as the ice would surely have impaled me or at least did major damage to my face, only half covered by a camera as I shot straight upwards. Little did I know! Fortunately, I got the shots before our ice adventure which, for those concerned, was one of the trip highlights and an unforgettable adventure.

In the afternoon we cruised once again through the Lemaire Channel but this time the light was superb and the shooting rewarding, with blue skies in some places and heavy, gray clouds cloaking the high peaks that surround the waterway elsewhere.
We visited Goudier Island and Port Lockroy, the site of the most southerly post office and site of a small research station where, this year, five women will man the station for the summer for the first time. Monica, our expedition leader, later told us that there is no running water here, and their water is obtained from melting ice before the Gentoos foul it too much. Bathroom facilities consist of a bucket – where that is emptied we did not learn. No showers, no laundry, and Monica said that usually, when she visits, she has the staff come aboard for a meal, shower, and laundry day, and she gives them fresh vegetables. This trip, unfortunately, we were out of veggies, and we were leaving immediately after our visit.  So, for the staff of Lockroy, it was a less propitious visit.

Day 21 Deception Island
We traveled through Devil’s Throat, the narrow caldera entrance into the bay of Deception Island, by 8 and at 9 we disembarked for our landing. The island offers little with wildlife, but those that worked the Antarctic Terns did incredibly well. As has been my luck with terns  on this trip, I didn’t go in that direction, nor bring the right lens had I, so my tern shooting has been minimal.
The bay is home to an old abandoned whaling station, later turned into a Brithish military observation base, but since the late 40’s it has been abandoned. Now, the metal oil drums used for housing fuel stand canted at odd angles, shoved askance by a glacial-volcanic-mud flow in the 1990s. All of the buildings’ windows are gone, and snow and ice now covers the floors and room corners in thick, icy drifts.  The area reminded me of the skeletal ruins I’ve seen images of from southern Namibia, with the same stark lonely, sad emptiness of abandonment.
I tried to convey this desolation, as there is real irony here in how temporary man’s presence is on these islands, at these scattered whaling stations that we’ve seen, and yet how long lasting the impact of those visits had been. Whale populations throughout the Antarctic seas have been decimated, and their numbers now almost 80 years since these whaling stations have closed, and over 40 since all whaling has supposedly ceased, are estimated at around 10% of their former numbers. Some populations, like the largest whale, the Blue, were feared to be so reduced in numbers that they would be not reproductively viable. Blues are ‘coming back,’ but several nations, under the guise of ‘science’ still harvest Minkes, and DNA analysis has shown that many less common species, like the Blue, are also taken.
Despite all this, the shoot was challenging and fun, and most of us did a lot of high dynamic range HDR images and panorama of the buildings and shore.
In the afternoon we headed to our last landing of the trip, a Chinstrap Penguin colony at Half Moon Bay. When we arrived the skies were overcast, but as the afternoon progressed they cleared and we were treated by some of the most stunning landscapes of the trip. From atop the hill paralleling the colony the sweep of an iceberg-filled bay ringed by glaciers and mountaintops cloaked by wispy banks of fog and cloud, sculpted by the late afternoon shadows … words simply doesn’t do it justice. The penguins were cooperative, too, and at least one person got a stellar sequence when a brown skua stealing an egg from a penguin.
I spent a portion of the afternoon attempting to shoot penguins porpoising in to the beach but they only teased me, with one or two jumps before swimming the rest of the way to shore underwater. Many of the nesters were stained by guano, but a few were clean from a recent swim and, when caught in a sweeping panorama, the shots were effective.
It clouded up by 6:30 so there was not a general mutiny of deserting this, one of the most beautiful beach landings we had. After dinner, we started sailing and, through the night the seas got rough.

Day 22 – Into the Drake
Last night was rocky, and this morning, as I write this, the seas are rough and walking around the cabins is difficult. I can tell it is the end of the trip, for light-mantled sooty albatrosses, Antarctic petrels, and southern Fulmars, all ‘trophy’ birds, are flying around the deck closeby and are generally ignored.

Day 23 - In the Drake
The seas mellowed out a bit into our second day, and by late afternoon we could see the South American mainland. That evening, we anchored in calm waters off the mainland and here we celebrated our final evening together, with a cocktail party hosted by Joseph Van Os Photo Tours. It was a great, happy ending to a wonderful trip.

Day 24 - Ushuaia
We disembarked without incident with various passengers boarding flights, or going to hotels, at varying times. At the airport some photographers had a problem, as some ticket agents (but not all) insisted that passengers check their carry-on camera bags. Those victems then had to unload their bags and carry the same volume of equipment and weight onto the planes in plastic bags. Some people were not hassled, and some of us simply kept our carry-on bags out of sight so that the issue never came up. The jet, a large one, had plenty of overhead room, and room underneath the seat in front, to accommodate all the gear, so it was an annoying ending, and a stressful one, for some at the end of a great trip.



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