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Published: December 18th 2018
Warmth in Ushuaia.
At the start of the Voyage. Ushuaia, Argentina
The Aforementioned Penguinologists
“I find the greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand, as is which direction we are moving. To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor”! - Oliver Wendell Holmes
“What is your favourite memory of Antarctica?” I was asked by a curious couple from Kentucky, as we ate prime-rib with all the fixings in the dining room of M/V Ocean Endeavour.
It took me a minute to respond, “There was a time on Andressen Island, south of the Antarctic Circle with, Tom and Fiona, two penguinologists.”
I was their Zodiac driver and general assistant.
The mission was to change batteries and do some routine maintenance to the frames and electronics in a remote camera up in the steep rocky slopes of the island in the midst of an Adelie penguin colony. It was a beautiful place with views across Lallemand Fjord and neighbouring Detaille Island, drifting pans of sea-ice, mighty ice-walls and glistening glaciers of the continental mainland entombed us. There was a noisy silence - only the cackling squawks of the Adelies were audible. To be this remote and immersed in raw nature is truly remarkable! The environment from a human perspective is harsh and inhospitable - but it proves how ego-centric and selfish our perspectives can typically be. This is the home of the penguins - it is
The Penola Strait area
neither harsh nor inhospitable - it’s their paradise, their realm.
There is no hunger or struggle - just raw reality.
I remember the Zodiac ride out to Andressen Island - open throttle in a straight-line across open water until the ship disappeared from view and radio contact was lost. I remember the relief at our sheltered anchorage in a small cove with calm waters and great access to the colony above. I remember watching the colony as I sat among them, only a flipper-slap away - there was no concern. The penguins seemed indifferent to my presence.
I remember Tom talking about the faecal discharge of penguins and the satellite imagery it creates… (seriously).
It was a magical time on that rocky ledge - a truly wild memory, untainted by others...
Currently, it is great to back down here with the aforementioned penguinologists.
Most Recent (funny) Memory
There was a bit of a storm on the Drake Passage heading northbound back to the South American continent. A strong westerly had manufactured eight metre swells that pounded the ship abeam! During breakfast, the container that held all the hard-boiled eggs was
View from my Cabin.
Not a bad view from my starboard-aft cabin
thrown from the serving area, dumping the dozens of eggs onto the tiled floor like marbles. It was funny to watch the crew trying to chase the eggs across the floor as the ship rocked from side to side! You just have to imagine the scene... I cracked up (pun intended)
I have a lot of photos of the Antarctic. To the point that I’m being selective whenever and wherever I take pictures. For this past voyage, I allowed myself one photo per day - and that photo had to be taken with my phone. I spent every other moment as an observer - spending quality time with the exotic inhabitants of the icy south, enjoying them going about their business.
I found it interesting when looking at the photos afterward in the warmth of my cabin onboard - photos I would have likely discarded had I’d taken more. These ten pictures had real meaning and told an Antarctic story in a different way.
The only ten pictures I took are the ones in this blog… Enjoy…
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