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Published: March 18th 2022
Tuesday. We prepared to go ashore on Cape Horn and were given instructions on what to wear and how to board the zodiacs. I was very sleepy and relieved that our group was to disembark at 10:00 rather than 8. But the wind picked up again and the seas were rough enough that it became unsafe to go ashore, so we stayed on board and instead circumnavigated the Horn, which is an island. It was gray and the landscape not exciting so I was happy to sleep.
As we headed toward Antarctica and sailed into the open ocean of Drake Passage, it became very rough with large swells. I usually love it when the ship is moving, but on this, my 31st cruise, I became seasick for the first time. I managed to eat dinner and then took a meclizine hcl tablet, the seasickness med that has the side effect of making one sleepy. So I slept well and awoke without any nausea.
02-16-22. Wednesday. Much calmer seas. There was bird spotting on the aft deck and animal spotting on the forward deck. We saw at least 4 hourglass dolphins just below us from deck 7, coming from under
the ship then leaping up to breathe. Watched a kayaking orientation video but did not win the lottery for Thursday kayaking, to my relief since I wasn’t really ready. Watched a televised lecture to prepare us for our shore visit the next day and one about the different kinds of penguins. The lectures are all televised due to COVID restrictions. There is also no live entertainment nor team games.
02-17-22. Thursday. In the morning we anchored at Half Moon Island in the South Shetland Islands just off the Antarctic Peninsula and were taken ashore in zodiacs on Half Moon Bay. The beach was small rocks, with ice filling the gaps between them as was the trail so hiking poles were provided. At one end of the beach was an old wooden boat with fur seals (sea lions) lying around and in it. Chinstrap penguins were there, some 4,000 pairs on the island with their partly grown chicks and their nests made of small rocks. It was snowing and so difficult to get photos. I dared not take out my Nikon SLR with the telephoto lens but got some shots with Simon’s waterproof Olympus, several of them ruined by water
spots on the lens. One end of the beach has a hill and beyond the other end is another, larger hill with a research station, not presently occupied, just beyond it.
Lunch back on board then on to Yankee Harbor on Greenwich Island. We landed on a spit of land with a large hill nearby and a huge glacier across the harbor. The rocky beach was populated by a gentoo penguin colony and some fur seals. This time it was less windy and not snowing at first, so I was able to use both cameras. A path was created down the middle of the spit so that we didn’t disturb the penguins as we walked along. The chicks were quite large and I saw a couple of them feeding from the mouths of their adult parents. Nathan and I wanted to stay longer ashore with the penguins in the beautiful landscape, but we had to return to the ship to have another COVID test since we’d been on board for five days and a second test would rule out that anyone who tested negative the first time was not incubating the virus at that time. Unfortunately for them, some
people tested positive for COVID and had to be quarantined. For the rest of us it meant that we could not go ashore in the Falklands en route back to Chile, so we spent that extra time in Antarctica. Fine with us.
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