Day 8 |
Feb 16, 2010

Antarctic Sound

By Stefan Kredel, Geologist

Co-ordinates: 63°31.4’S, 56°52.5’W

Weather: sunny

Air Temperature: 5,0°C

Can we believe this??? Another windless sunny day at the Antarctic Peninsula!! After a quiet night, I got up this morning at about 07:00 and when I looked out of the window I saw already the first huge tabular icebergs. That was to be expected as our aim for today was the Antarctic Sound. But it was also another sunny day, and once I made it up to the Bridge, I could also see that it was another day with no wind! BUT there was a lot of ice. So it didn’t look too good for our planned destination for the morning, Brown Bluff. Too much ice everywhere was the first impression I had. And that fitted with the information we had, that for the about last 7 days no ship managed to get into Brown Bluff. But as so often before, our Captain was keen to have a closer look to see if there was a small gap anywhere we could sail through. And once again we had the luck, and the Captain found the needed gap within the ice fields to maneuver the Prince Albert II close enough to the landing site of Brown Bluff in an area of open water.

So at 09:00 o’clock I brought our boat with all the safety equipment ashore. (We keep it there in case we can’t get all of our guests back on board, for whatever reason). After that I started to make my way up onto the glacier just next to the landing site. I was looking for a safe and easy path a bit up the glacier and marked it with flags. It was a stunning day, and while I was marking the path, the guests went with my colleagues looking at some Adelie and Gentoo Penguins. Well to be honest, there were quite some of them around … the whole beach was one long line of Adelies walking up and down the beach.

Anyhow, once the path was established, I started the guided walk up onto the glacier and the turnout was quite amazing. But I guess on a day like that everyone wanted to have the sunny view down into the Antarctic Sound. And it was marvelous, the view from up there. Even though we climbed just a bit more than 100 meters in elevation, the view into the sound, which was filled with gigantic icebergs, was breathtaking!

Other activities were ongoing: Snowmen were built, snow balls formed and thrown, photos taken, with people, without people, and so on. But most just set down and enjoyed this special moment up here on the glacier. I am sure everyone who was up there, whatever they did, enjoyed it a lot!

At 12:30 the last Zodiac left the shore, and lunch was served in The Restaurant. As we were still sailing through the Antarctic Sound, guests wanted to see all the tabular icebergs, but also wanted and had to eat. So the Captain brought the stern of the ship next to a tabular iceberg, so we could see this gigantic piece of ice, with a height of about 25 – 30 meters out of the water, just next to the window of The Restaurant! What a show! After lunch there was not much time for a rest, as the scenery outside was too amazing!

And then our fearless Expedition Leader decided to offer a Zodiac cruise of an hour. I think it is quite special if you see those gigantic tabular icebergs from the water line in a Zodiac. They become even bigger! Not too much wildlife was seen, but that was not needed, as the ice formations were more than exciting enough!

After the 2nd group was back on board, we had another Recap & Briefing. I talked a bit about the volcanic history of Brown Bluff, which is pretty special, and my colleagues talked about the biology. And then everyone went for dinner. Later, most went out again to see a gorgeous sunset in the Antarctic Sound!