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Antarctica » Antarctica
January 16th 2012
Published: January 17th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

HEAR COMES THE SUN

at least for now. The blue sky does indeed enhance the dramatic, rugged, snow covered peaks. Pintata petrels sour in the wake. These birds have a black and white checkerboard pattern to their feathers. I forgot to mention that I observed my first ever glacier calving last night while enjoying a drink and the Ocean Bar before dinner. Jan, Gloria, Fred and I who met on the cooking tour, meet in the evening before dinner to chat about our day. I also forgot to mention that as I walked around the ship yesterday, everyone had these silly, happy smiles on their faces. We are indeed, despite the weather, a happy ship.

The scenery today is so dramatic that I have been popping out on the balcony in my bathrobe while writing this. It’s cold but not bitter and I’m sheltered from the wind and neighbors eyes as well.

We are cruising in Paradise Bay where Chile has a station. There is a yacht moored nearby. About fifteen yachts operated by tour operators visit the region every summer. We sail through some sea ice and there is a lone penguin floating on a bergy bit. Orcas have been sighted but not by me yet. We passed a colony of Gentoo penguins. I could tell that penguins were nearby by the smell of penguin poop wafting in the air. In large colonies and close up the smell can be overpowering but here cruising it’s just a hint in the air.

The sea is a cobalt blue. Sea ice floats by and large glacial ice bergs do too. The glacial ice is blue or blue streaked while the sea ice is grey. I have watched some of the bergy bits turn turtle and the water erodes the bottoms and they become top heavy. There are fantastical shapes, swans or animals, one looked like an overturned catamaran.

I say a fin of a Right Whale. Wouldn’t know it was a Right Whale without the naturalist but these are very rare animals. This is only the third he has seen. The whalers hunted them, almost to extinction, because they were the most profitable species of whale to harvest, thus the name Right Whale.

We are supposed to be closing in on a penguin colony. I did sniff one as we passed but it was too far away to see. A number of penguins were porpoising between the shore and the ship. Just as I wrote this I looked out the window and saw a patch of bright pink. It was penguin poop, pink because these guys eat krill and it tints their poop. I was actually able to see a few individuals on the beach. They looked like chin straps but I can’t be sure.

Soon folks will be gathering for a tailgate party to watch the playoff games. Buckets of beer and refreshments will be available. Afternoon tea is being served and Happy Hour is only an hour away.

Dinner was a citrus compote, salad and rack of lamb. Picked up $27 at poker then off to watch the sunset. It’s 11:30 and the sunset is not spectacular, too few clouds.

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