Seal Spotting at Stony Point


I may have been able to achieve a continent landing at Base Brown, but my dear old dad had been busy kayaking during this landing, as a result, remained yet to achieve an actual landing on the Antarctic continent.

Luckily, we had one more opportunity to hang out on the continent, so it was with a seriously happy face that I once again landed on Antarctica, this time with Papa Burne (my father) in tow.


Upon arriving, we were greeted by this absolutely adorable Weddell seal! These seals have the most southerly distribution of any seal on the planet, so it was pretty cool to see one at a more northerly part of Antarctica.

Being with my dad brings out the truly terrible jokester in me, so it came as no surprise to hear totally awful seal puns coming from my mouth.

I actually spent time contemplating whether to call this fella ‘Seal-o Green’ or ‘Sealine Dion’… just slightly cringe worthy!



Getting around at Stony Point was a little more difficult than it had been at Base Brown, and on this particular outing, crampons were most definitely required.

Amazingly, by the time I had fumbled my way through crampon application something pretty unusual happened…

The sun appeared!

Well, sort of.


During an Antarctic summer the sun never truly sets, but that doesn’t mean you get to see much of it!

There were only two instances on our voyage in which we saw blue skies, and the small bits of colour you can see poking through the clouds in these photos was one such instance.


From the landing point, we were encouraged to make the ascent up this snow covered peak.


I could have climbed to a much higher vantage point than I did, but Papa Burne was cursed with a bit of a bum knee and was really feeling the pain of such a steep and slippery climb. I could certainly have pressed on alone, but I found myself wanting to stay with my dad instead.

We may not have made it to the highest vantage point, but the views were still certainly nothing to sneeze at!




After spending a fair while taking photo after photo (seriously, my memory cards were getting stretched to absolute capacity) and soaking up the stunning scenery around us, it was time to descend the hill and return to the shoreline below.




Once we got back down we discovered that good ol’ Seal-o had not felt any inclination to move from his lounging spot, and the sun came out just a little bit more – making for some even better photographs.



He was so relaxed in fact, that he didn’t even bat an eyelid when I crept up a little bit closer.


I only have one Antarctica related regret, and that is that I went there without a telefoto lens! Sometimes the Antarctic wildlife would be almost close enough to touch, and other times it was so far away that my beloved 12-40mm just didn’t cut the mustard. It did okay, but you better believe I will not be without at least a 150mm lens when I go on safari later this year.



Eventually, it was time for us to depart from Stony Point and head back to the vessel. Papa Burne was pretty damn stoked with his continent landing, and it meant a lot for me to be to be there with him.


Over the years, the vast majority of my travels have been done solo (hence the name of this blog) and for the most part, travelling on my own has been an incredible, life affirming and truly special way to see the world. I will always be a solo traveller at heart, but despite all this, having such an amazing adventure with my father by my side was like no adventure I’d ever had, and if I could do it all over again, there is nothing I would change.

I have always loved my father, and we have always had a rather special bond – but going on this trip together strengthened that bond even further, and provided me with memories that I will treasure far more than many others.

I owe so much to my father.

He worked so hard to give me a good life, to give me opportunities, to educate me, to teach me, and essentially to help me grow into a person that I can be proud of being.

He taught me how to respect all – and to treat every single person with the same dignity and kindness that I’d expect in return. He taught me to question, to enquire and to always strive to gain more knowledge. He taught me critical thinking and he taught me to be strong in the face of adversity. He taught me complete and utter honesty, even if he did so without teaching me the tact that would ideally go along with it.

Most of all, he taught me to be fearlessly independent – a trait without which, this blog would never have existed, as I would never have had the drive and courage to go on all these travels by myself.

Without my father, I would not be the person that I am today, and essentially, all my adventures and all the wonder that my life has been filled with – he is responsible for.

So on this day, to see his face light up with such unabashed joy and unparalleled excitement, well, it’s those memories that I will cherish for many moons to come.

24 years old and 63 years young 


Getting to Ushuaia: Ushuaia is well connected to Buenos Aires and El Calafate
Oceanwide Expeditions: An 11 night Basecamp Ortelius voyage starts at around $9650 USD
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 7-14mm f/2.8 and M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 lenses
Remember: Solo travel is amazing, but travelling with family can be unbelievably special

Disclaimer: I travelled to Antarctica with Oceanwide Expeditions on board the Ortelius MV. This post was sponsored by Oceanwide Expeditions through a subsidised expedition, however, all thoughts and opinions expressed on this blog are honest, unbiased and in no way influenced by the Oceanwide Expeditions brand, its management or its affiliates.

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30-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

25 thoughts on “Seal Spotting at Stony Point

  1. Such beautiful photos and sentiments Ellen! So sweet. God bless you and your family. ❤️💕😎👍🏻💪🏻👌🏻✊🏻

  2. Love your blogs. This one just took the cake. Your bonding with your dad. The lovely pic of u both at the end. The stunning photography. You didn’t mention the temperatures! How much were these? Loved every bit of this blog. By the way. Did you check if that seal hadn’t just passed out? Lots of love and best wishes. You are one brave young girl.
    Hey I loved your description of your dad. Felt like you were talking about mine. He is also very frank, honest and truthful. You know exactly where you stand with such a person. A quality I love and afmire. Stay blessed lovely one. 😊

  3. I am so moved by your article. Love it!
    Family is everything to me. There is nothing like sharing experiences with family, especially laughing together. Such memories are priceless and I always hold them close.
    I really admire how well you captured the beauty of the place… The seals are adorable. <3
    Have a fantastic time there!

  4. You raise your kids to fly; ready to leave the nest as independent and capable creatures in an increasingly complicated world. You want them to soar; to reach heights you never could, to see things you never saw, to have a life that is elevated above your own. When that happens it is a great joy.

    And an inspiration.

    I’m sure Elle will go back to Antarctica, and I hope if she does she at least asks me if I want to tag along…… It will remain fixed in my memory as a most thrilling and enjoyable experience – the trip of a lifetime – and I’d do it again in a heartbeat, bank balance permitting. To do it with her added so much more to the experience – the look of pure glee on her face when she was headed of for (yet) more kayaking – thanks, Pete – and the look on her face when she returned with excited stories of what she had seen and what sorts of shots she had taken just added to the thrill.

    Love that last photo.

    We had a blast.

  5. Love, LOVE, Love this! What an adventure you are on with your father.

    It’s a rare opportunity you are experiencing to do the kind of travel you like to do with the man who is so clearly inspiring you to this day. Well done!

    Solo, while empowering and liberating, isn’t necessarily all it’s cracked up to be. We need others to enrich our lives and our adventures too. It’s terrific that you recognize that, and that you have the relationship you clearly do, with your father. It’s quite inspiring.

    I’ve been enjoying your Antarctica posts and hope there’s more to come!

  6. Hey Elle… your blog brings out the adventures to life and it seems I have seen the world through your lense.. this one with your dad feels Epic just like your bond to him… One can see why you fly with such confidence… God Bless him and may you both get more travels together… btw That seal really looks huggable !!

  7. Such a cool experience and awesome that you got to experience it with your dad! Sounds like you both had an incredible time and such a special trip to share.

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