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Published: April 27th 2022
Thursday. We were awakened at 08:20 with an announcement that our group would be boarding the zodiacs at 9:40. This was the first we’d heard of it so we scrambled to get ready and made it to the unloading deck on time. The sky was gray. It was an in zodiac only excursion of the area around the ship with a lecture about the formation of glaciers, climate change and other related topics. Our guide gathered samples of three types of ice from the surrounding water with his bare hands. We passed them around. The higher the density, the clearer the ice, so the clearest had come from lower down in a glacier. One of the nearby glaciers was huge.
As we sailed to Cuverville Island, the sky cleared and it turned into a glorious day, the warmest to date. After landing, we were reminded that we needed sunscreen but since we had forgotten to put ours on, we shielded our faces as much as possible. Later the staff found some that we used. Our first jaunt was through the snow and uphill a ways with hiking poles. We sat and enjoyed the gorgeous setting in the bright
sunshine. Then we walked down to where the left end of the snow-covered beach ended in rocks. Along the way were many gentoo pigeons, adults and youngish chicks who looked like stuffed plush toys when they sprawled over rocks, resting or in sleep. There were five or six fur seals along the way and whale spine bones and ribs. The other end of the beach was gravel and rock where hundreds of gentoos stood, lay on their bellies or wandered about, some walking very close to us. Throughout our visit penguins entered or left the water and occasionally some would swim parallel to the beach, leaping out of the water.
The final part of our shore visit was the Antarctic Plunge. Because I chill easily and get shivers with chattering teeth which takes a while to pass, I declined to go into the icy water. But Nathan peeled down to his swimsuit and undershirt, waded carefully over the smooth waterworn rocks until he was knee-deep and then sat in the water just long enough to wet himself to the neck before springing up and making his way out of the water, often bending and using his hands.
After drying off and dressing he said his toes were burning.
Back on board the ship we lingered and enjoyed the beauty of our location before setting sail at sunset
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