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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 February 24th 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, ... read more
view from our zodiac excursion
view from our zodiac excursion
view from our zodiac excursion

Antarctica » Antarctica February 23rd 2022

Wednesday. In the morning we spent the morning in Dallman Bay viewing wildlife from the decks. There were many whales, several in pairs. One came up right in front of the bow and we saw the fluke as it dove. Part of its fluke was missing, from a propeller strike, one of the naturalists speculated. I think the whales were all humpbacks. Many penguin groups were swimming by, flying out of the water like dolphins. In the afternoon we visited Orne Harbor on the mainland of the Antarctic Peninsula. At the landing point two chinstrap penguins were closely hanging out watching Tomski , the Polish crew member who is head of excursions, as he instructed the passengers on the details of our visit. The path was a steep zig-zag climb requiring hiking poles through the snow ... read more
humpback whale fluke
humpback flukes
humpback whale

Antarctica » Antarctica » Brown Station February 22nd 2022

Tuesday. We were rousted from our sleep a little after 5:00 a.m. at the campsite where we had slept onshore. When I pulled my boots on (they had been outside the tent overnight) and stood up, my back went out. It was so painful I could barely walk but I managed to help break the tent down and repack it. Back on board I immediately took a couple of ibuprofen. A special breakfast had been prepared for us campers which included a mixed fish plate and Prosecco. Nathan kindly got a cold pack from a crew member and I iced my back before going to bed. We were awakened around 10:00 a.m. by an announcement that there were orcas nearby, but by the time we’d dressed and gone up to the deck, they were long gone. ... read more
Paradise Harbor
Paradise Harbor
Paradise Harbor

Antarctica » Antarctica February 21st 2022

Monday. Went ashore on Wiencke Island, Palmer Archipelago. We hiked over a hill, passed by a strangely sharp edged geometric rock on top of normal looking weathered rocky outcropping, and arrived at the blue Damoy Hut, The hut, established in 1975, supported the airstrip up on the glacier as a summer transit station. It was opened by our guides so that we could have a look inside. It started snowing heavily and back aboard the visibility was terrible making it doubtful that we would be able to camp. At 2:00 we watched the camping orientation video on our cabin television. By the time we reached Kerr Point, Nansen Island, Gerlach Strait, where we were to camp, It had cleared, there was little wind and it was warm by Antarctic standards. We had lucked out. Nathan and ... read more
Wiencke Island
Wiencke Island
Wiencke Island

Antarctica » Antarctica February 20th 2022

Sunday. At breakfast we saw World Navigator, an Atlas ship, nearby, We dropped anchor at Petermann Island in the Wilhelm Archipelago. On one side was a range of steep mountains with a large glacier. On the other was our shore destination, a large field of snow surrounded by rocks populated by many gentoo penguins and some skuas. While boarding the zodiacs to go ashore, a whale surfaced nearby. We landed near a small red building, a refuge hut. Large patches of the snow were pink, some green, due to the presence of algae. Nathan and I followed the set path to the right as it began snowing, where we were able to see an Adelie penguin and chick near a couple of cormorants among many gentoos, pointed out by Lancy, the ornithologist. I got a few ... read more
Port Circumcision, Petermann Island
Port Circumcision, Petermann Island
Port Circumcision, Petermann Island

Antarctica » Antarctica February 19th 2022

Saturday. Looking for sea ice, we headed south but none nearby in the early morning. No sea birds in sight when we joined the ornithologist on deck 10 after breakfast. I was beginning to feel that maybe this trip was a mistake, no entertainment, nothing to see. But after we crossed the Antarctic Circle, we began to see huge icebergs in the distance between us and some islands. As we sailed along, we saw more icebergs, closer up. The water became filled with ice, flat surface ice and small icebergs in fantastic shapes, some with beautiful blue and green color. A few of the flat floes had seals reclined on them. Some bobbed up and down. We passed rather close to one of the huge glaciers. The ship broke through a shallow layer of ice to ... read more
icebergs
iceberg
icebergs

Antarctica » Antarctica February 18th 2022

Friday. We got up early to see our passage through Neptune’s Billows (a narrow channel) to Whaler’s Bay on Deception Island, an active volcano. The bay is the caldera, now filled by the ocean. The anchor was dropped but we had to wait a while for the winds to diminish before operations to the shore began. Our group, the last, boarded one of the zodiacs at 1:30 p.m. On the beach where we walked, warm springs fed a tiny brook. Nearby are ruins of a Chilean research station which was evacuated in 1967 due to a volcanic eruption. A lone fur seal was a couple of hundred feet away and a few birds were about. We were on deck as we exited the caldera and sailing through the narrow channel was very dramatic.... read more
Deception Island
approaching Neptune's Billows
approaching Neptune's Billows

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 March 14th 2020

We'd wanted to come to the Antarctic for maybe 50 years. It had never seemed possible but here we are, well below the Antarctic Circle at latitude 68° south on the MS Expedition We've just navigated a tricky channel known as “the gullet”, twisting and turning between mountainous islands in a channel strewn with icebergs. The sun is shining on snow covered mountains, their high snow cliffs dropping sheer to the sea The snow glistens white; the ice has every shade of blue. This is the Antarctic we have wanted to see and enjoy for so long. The scene is stunning and our crew decide it is too good to miss. We anchor and all get into the black inflatable boats, the Zodiacs, so that we can get up close to the icebergs and chunks of ... read more
Our ship in the gullet
Humpback diving
Seals from a Zodiac




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