Blogs from South Shetland Islands, Antarctica, Antarctica

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Antarctica » Antarctica » South Shetland Islands November 22nd 2022

We spent Sunday sailing across Drake's passage. The seas were rough and stormy, with waves reaching 6-8 metres at times. There were not many activities and it was difficult moving around. We organised and orientated ourselves to our new environment. We purchased the premium drinks package as this gave us a better choice of wine and drinks at the bar. We also made friends with Poy, the head barman in the only bar, The Explorer's Lounge on the 10th floor. This has panoramic views and very comfortable seats from which to view the scenery. We found out we were in the Black-Browed Albatross group for our excursions and in the afternoon we were issued with our rubber boots. These are large and heavy and essential for when we go out onto the land. We had already ... read more
Launching the boats
On deck
Fletcher getting ready

Antarctica » Antarctica » South Shetland Islands February 25th 2022

Friday. We slept until after 9:00 and so missed breakfast. There was to be bird-spotting on deck with Lancy, the ornithologist, from 9 to 11. By the time I got up there it was 10:30, grey skies, no birds and no people. It was drizzling a bit so I returned the binoculars and camera to the cabin before returning to the top deck with Nathan to do my exercise walk. The ship returned to Deception Island since options were limited due to weather conditions and we sailed into the caldera again, this time to a different area. Much of the snow that was present on our first visit had melted. It was overcast but only occasionally drizzling. Our group wasn’t scheduled to go ashore until 4:30. Once we got there, the beach was black sand and ... read more
Deception Island
fur seal
fur seals

Antarctica » Antarctica » South Shetland Islands February 17th 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 ... read more
Half Moon Island
Half Moon Island
Half Moon Island

Antarctica » Antarctica » South Shetland Islands December 26th 2019

An incredible start to our Antarctic experience, penguins on ice flows, a tor, calving glaciers, ice caves, porpoising penguins, the Polish Arctowski Antarctic station with their supply ship anchored nearby, all in Admiralty Bay on King George Island in the South Shetland Islands. We were outside at 8am this morning all rugged in our Antarctic gear. I lasted about 40 minutes and the cold, 0 degrees, drove me back inside. The deck on the bow of the ship was opened up so everyone could see ahead. We crossed 60 degrees latitude last evening so are now officially sailing in Antarctic waters. The usually treacherous Drake Passage was incredibly calm. Our Expedition Team is giving us a running commentary on what we can see. It consists of a geologist, a biologist and a historian who have told ... read more
View from the ship Starboard Promenade deck
Face of one of the glaciers
Closeup of see the caves that develop...

Antarctica » Antarctica » South Shetland Islands December 2nd 2019

Dear Friends and Family, I hope this update finds you all well. Due to the recent self isolation policy for Covid-19, I have had time to finish my travel blog. I hope this reminds you of better times. Stay safe. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ My journey to Antarctica began with a family vacation to South America. I left my family to relax in the hot weather of Buenos Aires, and caught a plane down to Ushuaia. All went smoothly and I checked into my hotel the day before my Antarctica Expedition with Quark Adventures. This gave me plenty of time to head to the Tierra Del Fuego National Park for hiking. A local mini-van dropped me at one end of the park in Zaratiegui Bay. From there I was told it’s a four hour trek along the coast, past ... read more
Tierra del Fuego
Coastal Walk at Tierra del Fuego
Richard at the bottom of South America

Antarctica » Antarctica » South Shetland Islands February 19th 2019

Tuesday & Wednesday 19/20 February: DAY 18&19 / KING GEORGE ISLAND (ANTARCTICA) – RETURN TO SOUTH AMERICA – OVERNIGHT x 3 in PUNTA ARENAS This morning we said our goodbye to our expedition team and transfer ashore by Zodiac……eventually! We were woken by Kaylan at 6.00am although she tricked us by saying it was 4.45am!! It wasn’t! After breakfast, we were told that loading would start at 9.00am which was when our luggage would be loaded on large nets and craned over the side into zodiacs and taken to the beach on King Edward Island. Several of the zodiacs were off loaded and luggage in place. Then, all of a sudden, the seas changed. Waves started to come over he zodiacs … with our suitcases in it. There were several zodiacs that made it to the ... read more
King George Runway and surrounds (14)
Captains Dinner on our last night (1)
Captains Dinner on our last night (2)

Antarctica » Antarctica » South Shetland Islands February 18th 2019

9. Whalers Bay - Pt Foster Deception island, the caldera of an active volcano, South Shetland Islands We were heading towards the narrow entrance to the Whalers Bay, Pt Foster Deception island, the cauldron of an active volcano. The day was 1 C degree with a breeze and we were doing a landing on the black sandy beach. Digging down into the black sand was lovely and warm due to the thermal activity which continues. The steam was coming off the water which was beautiful. The Captain steered the ship through the narrow entrance ensuing that he dodged the massive boulder in the middle of Neptune’s Bellows, the entrance. The surrounding mountains were streaked with snow, reminding us of a favourite spot of mine in Norway. In fact, as I was giving out our business ... read more
Icy swim at Pt Foster Deception island volcano (5)
Half Moon Island Sth Shetland Islands (17)
Half Moon Island Sth Shetland Islands (85)

Antarctica » Antarctica » South Shetland Islands November 14th 2016

It would be two days sailing through bad weather to Antarctica or so we were lead to believe, the weather however was so good that we were able to land at an Argentine research station in the rarely visited South Orkney Islands. The base is located in a bay where a Scottish expedition ship was once frozen in the ice and the crew were forced to survive on penguins and seals for eight months. The base has been operating since 1904 and seems to be an Argentine land grab rather than anything else as little scientific research appears to be going in. There are 16 males at the basement during the winter months and they have a small museum, a church and several bars. These islands are remote, cold and harsh but I did see the ... read more
Cape petrels
Old shack built by castaways
Snow mobile

Antarctica » Antarctica » South Shetland Islands February 20th 2016

Half Moon Island is a 2km long crescent shaped island between Greenwich and Livingston Islands. There were thousands of Chinstrap Penguins to greet us in foggy weather. The island is very rocky and muddy. We also saw a giant petrel and some fur seals. The penguins had no fear of us and because there were so many of them we didn't have to keep our distance as they walked amongst us. Back to the ship for lunch and then we set sail for Deception Island, our last off boat stop for the trip. Deception Island is located in the South Shetland Islands. This island is the caldera of an active volcano, which seriously damaged local scientific stations in 1967 and 1969 and is reached through the Neptune's Bellows. There is a former whaling station (Hektor station) ... read more
Neptunes Bellows
Inside the destroyed British base
Fur seal at whaling station

Antarctica » Antarctica » South Shetland Islands January 22nd 2016

Continued from Part 2... Day 11: Today is another full day at sea. South Georgia is quite a ways from mainland Antarctica, but the plan is to stop at the South Orkney Islands tomorrow. We sleep in till 10:30 and it feels amazing. After three straight days of waking up by 6:00 AM this is a much needed sleep-in day. It’s quite cloudy today and visibility isn’t so great so we use the day to go through pictures and read and whatnot. As I am reading Unbroken, the story of Louie Zamparini, I finally have some time to think about the Japanese treatment of POWs in WW2. It was disgusting, violating every international law for prisoners of war. I tell Nimarta that what the Nazis did was so horrible that people seem to forget about the ... read more
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