Blogs from Antarctica, Antarctica - page 9


Antarctica » Antarctica January 22nd 2013

We enjoyed another relatively calm night cruising off of the coast of Antarctica. As the weather would have it, there was nothing anyone could have seen at Deception Island, so the captain’s call to bypass this in the middle of the night was a good one; still, we awoke to see fog… heavy pea soup kind of fog. With no pressing lectures on our schedule, I decided to use the gym again while Sharon planned on attending mass, with the ten other regulars. She later related the priest’s joke for the day, which I add here because our mutual friend Dena like’s this sort of jokes. Usually they relate in some way to church or the clergy, but honest, the priest told it just before mass so it qualifies. A man had an exceptional dog who ... read more
penguin passel feeding
Argentine Station by Adele Penguin Rookery
John by the Veendam Bell on bow of ship

Antarctica » Antarctica » Palmer Station January 22nd 2013

PALMER STATION - JANUARY 21 -Well, what can I say, more beauty and amazement. At one point in the early afternoon the captain reported we had spotted 28 humpback whales. I didn’t see all, but I did catch many of them. It seems like we saw many hundreds of penguins and a few Orca whales. Some of the scientists from the Palmer Station (a US scientific station in Antarctica) came on board for a couple of lectures. I managed to stay awake and found their presentation and the Q & A very interesting. In the morning I went on the bow to observe a little closer to sea level, but it was COLD, so I only could stay there for 30 minutes or so. The crew brought us Dutch pea soup while on the deck. Very ... read more

Antarctica » Antarctica » South Shetland Islands January 21st 2013

DALLMANN BAY, CUVERVILLE ISLAND AND PARADISE CHANNEL Sunday, January 20. Well we’re here! The morning was foggy but the sun broke through and the fog lifted about 1:00 pm. I spent the morning in a cooking class and then went to an early lunch in preparation for my old world/new world wine tasting. When the fog broke the glory of the Antarctic was all around me. We entered Dallmann Bay and everyone observed the beauty of the continent. I saw humpback whales, seals, various birds and penguins, penguins, penguins, penguins. Most of the day was spent just taking in the magnificent environment. Even the wine tasting program was held in the dining room so we had vision to see the “landscape” as we passed it. The commentators pointed out the various species and features of the ... read more

Antarctica » Antarctica January 21st 2013

We spent a calm night, what night there was, in the sheltered waters near the Neumeyer channel. The captain had considered trying to enter the Lamaire channel, but felt that would be pressing our luck due to the ice and fog. We had managed to navigate two other channels on the previous day, with ice flows, icebergs and bergies, and with the limited maneuvering available in the next channel, he chose to wait for the morning. Sharon spotted two Zodiacs speeding away from the Veendam in the morning, having dropped off the personnel form Palmer Station who would begin this morning’s talks at 8 AM. We hurried to get good seats, and due to the conflict in time with mass, Sharon missed church today. Bob Farrell was introduced as the station manager, run under the auspices ... read more
Zodiac that dropped off people from Palmer Station

Antarctica » Antarctica January 20th 2013

I can hardly imagine what those early sailors in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries must have felt when the lookout yelled “Land Ho!” from the crow’s nest following an Atlantic crossing to the New World, but our journey to the bottom of the world certainly made us feel like we were being transported to a whole new world. Our arrival was initially marked by our crossing the Antarctica Convergence, where the ocean surrounding Antarctica is a completely different ecosystem from that in the ocean north of the convergence. The convergence itself is a band of ocean about twenty miles wide. In the convergence the temperature fluctuates lower; until, finally the ocean temperature stabilizes at about 4.5 degrees Celsius (or 41 degrees Fahrenheit). They say that the ocean color is distinctly different; indeed, it appears darker and ... read more
humpback tail

Antarctica » Antarctica » South Shetland Islands January 20th 2013

CAPE HORN AND DRAKE PASSAGE - Saturday. Last night we passed Cape Horn and entered Drake Passage. We rocked a little through the night. Daylight revealed fog and six foot swells. The staff indicated that what I experienced is fairly moderate for where we are. I like moderate when it comes to rough seas. Not many pictures today, I didn’t spot any sea life within camera range. Went to a lecture on Cape Horn and the Drake Passage which was good enough that I didn’t fall asleep during it. I can’t say the same about the movie “Antarctica Wildlife Adventure”. After lunch of salmon burger, I went to another beer tasting event. My partners (Mike and Chuck) and I won the trivia contest (again). Did some reading before anticipated Mass. The priest I like a lot. ... read more

Antarctica » Antarctica January 16th 2013

The next stop was Neko Harbour, our first continental landing! The landing was delayed due to many icebergs beaching themselves near the shore and blocking access for the Zodiacs. Though a suitable spot was found, we had to jump out into waist high water. My waterproof pants came in very handy. Our walking route took us through some more Gentoo penguin colonies and up to a great lookout across the bay and over a massive glacier. We were lucky enough to see a couple of decent sized ice calvings off the face of the glacier. The noise produced was very cool. On the way back down to the beach we were given two options – walk or slide. Obviously I chose the slide. No OH&S babysitting here. It was quite steep and I got some speed ... read more
The view from the top - Neko harbour
Whale watching at Pleneau Island
The amazing icebergs of Pleneau Island

Antarctica » Antarctica » South Shetland Islands January 13th 2013

I woke the next morning to the gentle rocking and rolling of the ship. We had entered the Drake. The weather was quite good so the seas were also not too bad – just a small swell. The day was largely spent viewing sea birds from out on the decks. Most of my previous knowledge on albatrosses centered around golf, but by the end of those two days I knew much more and spent a lot of time on deck trying to snap photos of them. They are huge birds. Their wingspans can be up to 3.5 metres! Roughly twice my height. They like to circle and follow the boat as it churns up the little fishies in the water and also gives them some extra help with flying (they can fly for hours without flapping ... read more

Antarctica » Antarctica January 1st 2013

We are awakened about 8 am by the captain's announcement that we have entered Neumayer Channel between Anvers Island and Wienke Island. (In the night, the ship has sailed past Brabant Island, if anyone is following on a map.) Vi and I scramble to get dressed and get outside to enjoy the scenery. It is stunning. We are bracketed by sheer black-and-white cliffs on both sides of the ship as we glide silently forward on tranquil waters. It's like being in church. We spot several groups of penguins on floating ice floes and the occasional seal lounging on the ice at the base of the cliffs. Our avian escorts are now mostly shags and skuas, the latter large vicious-looking birds that mostly prey on penguins. The fog is moving in quite thickly, blotting out the shore, ... read more
Antarctic islands from ship

Antarctica » Antarctica December 31st 2012

It's New Year's Eve! During the night we were supposed to enter Bransfield Strait, which divides King George Island from Antarctic's Trinity Peninsula in the Palmer Archipelago. However, again there was too much ice, so we turned around in the night and are now sailing around King George Island on the ocean side. The captain hopes to backtrack and enter the strait from the opposite end. It's a grey day with patchy fog on relatively calm waters. Vi and I take a stroll outside before breakfast. It's about 1°C and quite pleasant, but we can't see much. We do, however, catch sight of a series of whale plumes and some finned black backs in the distance. The truth is that it has turned into a rather bland day. We are out of sight of visible land ... read more

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