Actually going to Palmer Station which is not on the list.
Friday 13th January 2012
A quiet passage across from Patagonia (the southern area of south America) and we woke to calm waters and grey skies. We must have escaped the bad weather. Everyone is very excited on the ship about the prospect of seeing Antarctica later today. Its much colder now – below zero outside and everyone wrapped up even though they are still marching round the deck. Last night it was still light at 10.30pm and tonight it will be even later. We are now well inside Antarctic waters at 62 degrees south and 061 degrees west. We have been told to not allow light through our cabin windows so I expect the decks will be dark tonight. All to do with birds being attracted and landing when they shouldn’t. This is a highly protected area and people are not now allowed to even smoke on deck. We have to put up with them smoking inside in restricted areas hopefully until we leave these waters. We sight land at 4.30 and everyone is out on deck. What we see is a rocky coastline with white peaks. Its snowing outside and the wind chill is about -2. We cruise into a passageway up close to an alley of glaciers and white mountains. This is our extra bit for having missed out Ushuaia. I missed out on Tai Chi tonight – that’s always there – Antarctic isn’t. We have every item of clothing on now when outside. We golfers know how to dress in layers. During the day there were two very good lectures on the history of rounding the horn and Patagonia itself. There is also onboard all sorts of stuff we don’t bother with among which is afternoon tea. I had trouble enough getting into my skirt without having tea as well. Brian went to two IT workshops today. We definitely don’t go to trivia challenges or bridge or the casino or even the workshops on cocktails and today I see origami.
It’s a formal night tonight and everyone is all dress up – there was never a dining room with a view such as we can see from the panoramic windows. Its hard not to keep looking at the mountains and glaciers as we go by. After dinner the captain throws a big party with free cocktails and dancing and at 11pm free food – all quite overwhelming – We dance then indulge with fruit an the chocolate fountain and go to bed about 1pm.
64 degrees south when we wake and we are heading to Palmer station to pick up the scientists. Sunrise was 03.10 am and tonight will set at 11.30pm. Its misty again outside – we really need blue skies for photos but at least its not snowing when we do our whale watch walk round the deck. We are looking for penguins on ice flows now as well as whales. Crowds of penguins followed the boat yesterday – we think they are chin strap penguins – hard to tell the speed they were going - leaping in an out in the waves.