Day 5 |
Feb 02, 2010

Cuverville Island / Almirante Brown

By Stefan Kredel, Geologist

Co-ordinates: 64°41’S, 62°38’W / 64°51’S, 62°54’W

Weather: mainly sunny

Air Temperature: 2,0°C

After the early morning yesterday, alarm clock at 04:32, I was happy that we started a bit later today. My standby time to get into the Zodiac was 09:00 o’clock. So I got up at 07:30. It was a beautiful day out there, and that was also the first question that I was asked at breakfast, if I think this weather will stay. How to answer that question?! I said I hope so. Not sure if this was the answer the guest was expecting, but it is always very hard to do any weather guessing (yes, I call it guessing!) in this part of the world. Anyhow, in the moment we had a really nice day, and so I put a lot of sunscreen on my face.

After bringing the Zodiac with all the safety equipment ashore, our fearless Expedition Leader Robin asked me to stay in the beach area. I was very thankful for this position as it gave me a chance to walk around and have a look at all the different kind of rocks here. In my opinion, Cuverville Island has the nicest variety of rocks within the whole area of the peninsula. So many different rocks were here, brought together by the glaciers. And when the first guest arrived I had already a nice collection of rocks near the landing site. Every rock has a different story to tell, about its origin and its genesis. For me, those stories are far more interesting than those of the smelly penguins, even so I have to admit that they are cute, the penguins. That was the other point of interest on Cuverville Island, a rookery of Gentoo Penguins. Also quite some whale bones from the whaling time, out of the first half of last century, were ashore.

Lunch was hard work as we sailed at that time through the Errera Channel. This very scenic passage with the nice weather let me, and the guests, hardly concentrate on our plates. Anyhow, we managed to finish lunch with no big damages to our shirts and I went straight outside looking for whales. And there were some minkies and humpbacks spotted. Our Captain was in his element, and when he saw a superb iceberg with a big whole in it, he decided to do a “360”. He circumnavigated this piece of art, made by nature, in one big turn. And you could hear all the shutters of all the cameras. Luckily, most guests these days use digital photography ….

At 15:00 I had my standby time for the afternoon. First we brought half of our guests to the Argentinean Brown Base (formerly called: Almirante Brown). For years the base has not been in use. But there is a nice hill behind it that is worth climbing. You have a spectacular view, and the chance to slide down on your … the body part that you are usually sitting on. And it is another landing on the mainland of the Antarctic continent.

Straight after the disembarkation, I started with the remaining guests for a Zodiac tour in the so-called Paradise Bay. And as the weather was still good, there was no question about this name … Along the way into the bay we passed some nests of cormorants, saw some malachite outcrops in the limestone, and were then lucky enough to see a crabeater and a leopard seal on ice floes. But even the bay alone was worth a tour. The glacier coming down to the waterline was magnificent. This wall out of ice with all its holes, arcs and cracks in it, and with all the different kind of blues in the ice, was hard to impossible to describe!!!
So I was lucky enough that I “had to” do two of those Zodiac tours.

But the day was not finished, straight after dinner we sailed through the Lemaire Channel. It is about 7 km long, averaging 1,5 km wide and on both sides are steep cliffs up to more than 500 meters. And funny enough, it was named after Charles Lemaire, a Belgian explorer of the Congo, who was never down to Antarctica …

Even though the sunshine from the day has moved slightly to a more liquid sunshine, there were still a lot guests out on the decks.