It might sound very blasÃ©, but if you asked me what we have been seeing, I would have to just say â€œmore ice and penguinsâ€.
Itâ€™s Monday, January 30th today and I havenâ€™t been able to add much to my blog as we are simply too busy. Now we are in Antarctica, our day begins at 7.00 with a announcement about our position and the scenery outside. Breakfast is at 7.30 and consuiistys of a full breakfast – cereal, fruit, cooked things and bread & pastries. We have a landing and / or a zodiac cruise between 8.30 and 11.30. Lunch is at 12.30. In the afternoon, we have a other landing / cruise and then dinner in the evening at 7.00. After dinner there is time for relaxing in the bar or a movie in the presentation room. Tea and coffee acre always available in ther bar and I am really enjoying the range of herbal teas that they have on the ship.
Yesterday morning, we began the day with a landing in the Yalour islands and visittesdn Adelaie Penguin Colony. The Gentooos that we saw on the previous day had orange beaks and a white patch behind their eye. The Adelies are just you plain, ordinary black and white ones. We had plenty of time to walk around and keep thye mandatory distance of 5 metres from a bird and 15 metres from a nest. Penguin Poo is very smelly and hardly llikey to come Guy Larocheâ€™s next seasonâ€™s perfume.
Thye chicks were fairly well advanced and it as interesting to see them try and con any passing adult into giving them a free meal. After taking hundreds of penguin photos (Penguin pete is in every one of them, we went zodiac cruising through the local waters. One of the passengers had their GPS and we recorded 20 km of cruising at a top speed of 18 nautical miles per hour in the zodiac. There were some magnificent icebergs. Some had arches, others had towering chimneys and others were flat. I think that they have broken off the continental ice shelf and floated into this area. They are toobig to have come from the local glaciers. Some were 60 metres high, which also means that they would have had 360 metres of ice below the waterline..
Lunch back on the ship was a Mexican Lunch – Tortillas and tacos. Very delicious!
After lunch, we were back into the zodiacs to visit Petermann Island which was used by Carcot, the French Explorer as a wintering baser in 1909. It was very warm and we were walking around in T-Shirts. We had planned to walk to the peak of the island which was a 200 metre high dome of ice. However, the ice was too slippery and whist we may have been able to climb up, it would have been very dangerous to come down.. Instead, we waked to a smaller peak and looked out over a glacier and more penguins.
Our program last night included an option to camping on the ice and as we meet at the gangway, we were told that it had to be cancelled as the landing zoine was filling up with floating ice. The zodiacs would not have been able to get in on the next morning to get us off. Oh well, back to the bar and then to bed. I think that we may have another try at camping tonight.
Toward the end of the day, we sailed back through the Lemaire channel. This was a narrow strip of water between two high masses of bare rock hills. We had zodiaced around here on our first day and the shaip had siiled through to meet us but we had not seen this stretch of water ourselves. The scenery was magnificent – just like being in a giant fjord. Along the way, we passed a supply ship that was coming the other way. We thi k that it was carrying the relief crew and supplies for the Ukrainian station that we had visited. We sawe another cruise ship later in the night.
This morning, we had our usual breakfast and then off to a landing in Andvard Bay. Thius was technically our first time on the Antarctic Continent. Our other landings have been on islands off the coast. Iâ€™m back on the ship for lunch and then another landing this afternoon at another place.. This place was near a glacier which was calving very frequently. Every now and then we could hear a loud roar and then see the place where a block of ice had fallen into the water. Finally we had a large wave come up to the rocky beach. There was some high ground behind the landing site where we could get a good view of the bay.
The ship doesnâ€™t anchor when we are away in the zodiacs – the water is too deep. Instead, It sort of hovers on place using its bow and stern thrusters to maintain position. Today is a little cooler than yesterday so we are all wearing more layers. At the Ukrainian station it was -1 degree.. Yesterday it was about five degrees and this morning it was 2 degrees.
Off to lunch and then to see another lot of Penguins!