Published: December 15th 2010December 13th 2010
First few seconds in Yankee Harbour.
Now the bit we came all the way down here to do, search for white nosed polar bears (I don't care what the guy said yesterday about antarctic mammals).
At 05:30 general announcement that land was in sight and then something about low visibility so we decided to have a lie in. Rouse for 07:30 breakfast call.
Still very low visibility and wind speed is 40 knots (nautical term for 50 mph?). Other boats in the area have abandoned any hope of landings for the day but our boat wants to give it a go anyway. My sort of people. We head to Yankee Harbour
Feel over dressed wearing thermals, layered clothing, winter riding suit and waterproof layer. Until I step outside, should have packed another scarf. Only cold parts of me are the exposed parts, my fault for not sorting out my 'snoo'. Zodic ride is wet, temperatures are well below zero and wind has picked up. Maybe later I'll tell you about the boots they supplied.
Antarctica is very dry. My gloves were wet from the zodiac but dry 10 minutes after getting to land. Visibility is half a mile to 4 feet, depending on
Look what I found Ma!!
wind. The people in front of you can vanish in seconds when the wind picks up or you can see clear across the bay when it's calm. At one point I was leaning into the wind so much I could reach forward and touch the ground.
Penguins everywhere (when the wind lets you see them). Really weird to walk amongst them in their natural habitat. No fear of humans, almost stepped on bird of prey. Antarctic wildlife has right of way (coming from left or right). Made a snow Angle.
Back to boat after about an hour as weather was getting worse. Enough time for lunch and move the boat to Aitcho Islands
. Weather much more sedate. The zodiac trip was wetter, but the land side was much easier without the wind. Lots of penguins, other birds (forget names) and a couple of sea elephants (large seals/walrus??). Scenery was awesome.
Back to the boat and time for a hot chocolate while the ship moves around to Discovery Bay
. Two of the passengers have come to Antarctica to get married (away from families). They brought one friend with them (best man?) so everyone else on-board is now a
Nice weather for... polar bears!!!
guest. They zodiac us out to a little church (near a Russian research station?) and we all gather around for the service. The groom wears a shirt and tie and the bride is escorted by the captain in a white dress (bride, not captain). The service is short (very very short) and before long the happy couple are told to drink, kiss and wrap up in lots of layers so we can all rushed back to the boat.
The rest of the night is devoted to drinking and speeches and signing and saying well done and goodbye. Another late night with lots of free flowing alcohol, but no early start to worry about. The galley staff sang a couple of songs while we ate (they really want those gratitudes) and we got certificates (good luck us getting those home). We also got a shiny holdall to carry stuff and a 1gb USB pen stuff with photos of us (apparently).
There are more photos below