Day 6 |
Mar 14, 2010

Antarctic Peninsula (Brown Bluff And Antarctic Sound)

By Juan Mazar Barnett, General Naturalist / Ornithologist

Co-ordinates: 63º31.0S  - 056º52.6W

Weather: Overcast, no wind and very cold

Seas: calm

Temperature: -6 C

Today was the third full day of the voyage, and last spent in the Antarctic Peninsula. And what a fantastic way to finish our visit to THE continent! We had an early start today, landing at 6:30 at Brown Bluff, a magnificent spot at the tip of the Peninsula. The weather was great, and although it was overcast and cold, there was not a drop of wind.
This made the very little snow that was falling from time to time to almost drift rather than fall.

As the guests arrived they were free to wander around the beach and they enjoyed the close views of molting Adelies, a penguin species that we had seen at some distance before. After a couple of hours, about half of the guests took the “trail” to the glacier and enjoyed the superb views from up there. Three of us had to mark a path in a section of the ice slope that was otherwise a bit tricky to go through.

The scenery was amazing! The rocky cliff behind our landing spot was laden with icicles, and busy with Gentoo Penguins, a few Adelies and the mighty poo-bird (Snowy Sheathbill) running around oblivious of our presence. There were also Crabeater and Fur Seals swimming along the shores.

Upon returning to the Prince Albert II, most of us had breakfast as the Captain set sail north through the Antarctic Sound. By 10:30 we anchored, and two groups of guests took on a fabulous one-hour Zodiac Cruise along the ice floes. A second batch of guests took the next slot on the Zodiac Cruise. Everyone got great shots of the Crabeater Seals and of a rather large individual of Leopard Seal. Included in the morning cruise was a Champagne toast in amongst the ice!

Once everyone was back onboard, we finally departed Antarctica, sailing around the fantastic tabular icebergs of the Antarctic Sound. And just as most of us were finishing lunch, there was an announcement from the Bridge. Yet more excitement for all of us, a pod of Orcas had been spotted ahead! We were able to get close to them and we again got very good views of a group of at least five individuals.

The rest of the afternoon was spent by many of the guests out in the open decks of the Prince Albert II, taking in the breathtaking scenery of the Antarctic Sound. There was an early Recap & Briefing at The Theatre, and later on the Venetian Society Cocktail Party was held in the Observation Lounge. The day finished at The Restaurant with a fabulous dinner, as usual, and several guests enjoyed a nightcap upstairs in the Panorama Lounge.