[Tweeters] Re: RFI: Alaska cruise. Scope Yes or No.

festuca at comcast.net festuca at comcast.net
Fri May 13 08:09:14 PDT 2016

Hi Ray,

I have taken 2 cruises on the Princess lines (my 2nd was just last week, from L.A. to Vancouver), and will opine that a scope is indispensable for birding.

Observing from the promenade decks, you are several stories above the water, and identification of murrelets, auklets, storm-petrels, and other small birds requires the use of a scope. The decks are very stable on a 965-foot vessel, even with a moderate swell. I generally leave my scope at the 20X level, unless I'm attempting to focus in on a distant bird.

One of the birders on our ship was using the new Swarovski 90mm scope, and was able to see Bald Eagles on the beach east of Sekiu from mid-channel in the Strait of Juan de Fuca! Of course, that was in flat water, but even on the open ocean, there were 30 birders on the deck using scopes to ID Pterodroma petrels at the horizon.

I highly recommend a scope for Cruise Line Birding. Viewing from the Norwegian Star will likely have you scoping from the port or starboard side, for the most part, rather than the bow; the observation deck level puts you 'way above the water (and probably through a window?). It behooves birders with scopes to make sure they keep the decks relatively clear, as a lot of the non-birding passengers use the promenade to walk or jog - just good birding manners & PR.

Hope this helps,
Jon. Anderson
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