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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 March 18th 2016

We sailed all morning with the anticipation of our visit to Port Lockroy. The weather was rather bleak and it turned to rain and then snow. Port Lockroy is a natural harbour on the north-western show in Palmer Archipelago of the British Antarctic on goudier Island.It was discovered in 1904 by a French politician and Vice President of the Chamber of Deputies, Edouard Lockroy. The harbour was used for whaling between 1911 and 1931. Half the island is open to tourists, while the other half is reserved for penguins. In 1996 the Port Lockroy base was renovated and is now a museum and post office operated by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust. There is a shop whose products are used to finance the maintenance of the site and other historic sites and monuments in Antarctica. ... read more
Port Lockroy
Sailing towards Port Lockroy
Nissen hut

Antarctica » Antarctica March 5th 2016

Megaptera novaeangliae means ‘big wings of New England’ more commonly known as the humpback whale. These are the gentle giants of the sea – playful, gentle giants that we had the pleasure of spending a few hours with in Wilhelmena Bay. There were dozens of humpbacks and all the Zodiacs spent time with several individuals. We also had sightings of minke whales, fin whales and a rare glimpse of Arnoux’s beaked whales. Of course you could throw some dusky dolphins and long-finned pilot whales too – just for good measure. I have not sat down and taken time to journal my adventures on this voyage – but I did take a few photos of these magnificent beings that swim in our amazing oceans. I will leave you with a few snippets of our moving and spiritual ... read more
The Breach
Playful Humpbacks
Up Close

Antarctica » Antarctica February 25th 2016

The many men so beautiful And they all dead did lie And a thousand, thousand slimy things Lived on and so did I. Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Samuel Taylor Colridge, 1799 Deck 8 is an open platform - it’s windswept and exposed. It’s ideal for some jogging or for some small piece of solitude as hardly any one goes up there. I love being up high on the stormy seas with views across the rolling waves as the ship heaves up and down. The wild wind charging through the sky and battering the vessel – I love it! Gravity assisted running – just for a second I am flying! My Antarctic antics are continuing! My little feathered friends are growing up fast, and the air is cooling down. The southern winter is fast approaching at ... read more
Northern Giant Petrel
Antarctic Blue
In Search of a Beast

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 February 19th 2016

Early start this morning for our zodiac landing on Antarctic proper - Portal Point. It was named by the United Kingdom Antarctic Place Names Committee in 1960 because the point is the "gateway" of the route. It was a very tranquil landscape with Weddell and Grey seals who weren't too happy to see us. We also saw some Gentoo and Chinstrap penguins but they were a long way away. We came back to a very warming lentil soup for lunch. In the afternoon the weather had improved slightly ( it wasn't snowing) . We sailed to Enterprise Island which lies at the northeast end of Nansen Island in Wilhelmina Bay. These islands were first charted as one feature and named the Nansen by the Belgian Antarctic Expedition under Adrian de Gerlache in 1898. The islands became ... read more

Antarctica » Antarctica » Ross Sea February 17th 2016

We sailed this morning into Marguerite Bay and became the first Ponant boat to sail this far south 68.1°(2419 km from the South Pole). This caused much excitement particularly from the captain. We then had our first off zodiac excursion. We were taken to Pourquois Pas (Why Not) Island, discovered by French explorer Jean-Baptiste Charcot and named after his boat, to see the Adelie penguins and their rookeries. At this time of year they are completing the moulting season (about two weeks) before heading back to sea with their waterproof coat on. The Adelie Penguin often looks overweight. It is short but wide. They are very short with an overall height of no more than 30 inches. They weigh approximately 8-13 pounds. They can be identified by the white rings around their eyes. Their beak has ... read more
Adelie penguins
Kevin racing a penguin
Penguin tracks

Antarctica » Antarctica February 16th 2016

This morning we woke to unanticipated rough seas and high winds. The Captain advised that we would not be going out in the Zodiacs but had scheduled some lectures instead while they sailed for calmer waters. Some 10 minutes later everything changed. We had sailed into an ice shelf and all around the boat all we could see was ice. They lowered the gangway on to the ice and the expedition crew set out to put red flags out to mark where it was safe to walk. We could not get off yet though as they hadn't finished setting up the champagne bar complete with a large tray of macarons. After getting off the boat we walked around taking photos of penguins and seals while sipping our champagne. A blissful way to spend the morning and ... read more
Steering to the ice
Ice Lily pads
Reflections

Antarctica » Antarctica February 14th 2016

A lot of people don’t realise that South America is the closest continent on the planet to Antarctica. So we figured that since South America was the 6thcontinent that we had visited, why not round them all off with a little trip to Antarctica? We both started and ended the cruise in Buenos Aires – the (adjusted) itinerary was as follows: Buenos Aires>Ushauia (Arg)>Cape Horn (Chile)>Antarctica (Paradise Bay, Elephant Island)>Falkland Islands (UK)>Montevideo (Uruguay)>BA We had to make a small adjustment and remove Puerto Madryn (Argentina) from our itinerary because the weather on the Drake Passage (crossing into Antarctica across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans) was too bad. Google this, if you’ve never heard of it – pretty rough seas as we soon discovered! So sailing to the Antarctic is a bit of an adventure – however, ... read more
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Antarctica » Antarctica February 11th 2016

BUENOS AIRES Our adventure begins with a two night stay in Buenos Aires. It allows us to have a quiet day in the city and recover from the flight from Sydney via Auckland ans Santiago. We decided to just have a wander around as we were last in BA 4 years ago and saw many of the sights then. We walked up the shopping street of Florida to the sounds of "cambio, cambio" from the many people trying to get us to exchange money at what I am sure would be a great rate. Buenos Aires has some beautiful buildings with very ornate street frontages. Our main purpose was to visit the historic Cafe Tortoni - a very ornate bar and coffee house founded in 1858. It has a very long main section and smaller rooms ... read more
Cafe Tortoni
Cafe Tortoni
Cafe Tortoni




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