Day 13 |
Nov 22, 2010

Brown Bluff

By Chris Harbard, Ornithologist

Co-ordinates: 63 32S, 56 55W
Weather: Cloud and sunshine

The ship arrived at Brown Bluff at breakfast and the beach that greeted us was covered in snow. The temperature was just below freezing and gusts of wind picked up the snow and swirled it around. Groups of Adelie Penguins stood at the edge of the beach waiting to take the plunge as I walked along the beach to their breeding colony. Small black shapes were dotted across the snow but many of the birds were totally buried beneath the snow with only their beaks and tails showing. Adelie Penguins are the most entertaining of the penguins and while I waited for the guests to arrive I watched them bickering amongst themselves. The occasional individual would arrive back at its nest carrying a pebble as a gift for its mate, bowing before presenting it. After enjoying the penguin antics, many guests opted to take a hike up through the snow to a nearby glacier. As the sun broke through and the wind abated, the morning became truly pleasant and the occasional Snow Petrel glided past with the numerous Cape Petrels, both of which breed on the high cliffs and scree of Brown Bluff.

Back on the ship we sailed on towards another destination, the Captain steering us past huge tabular icebergs. After lunch I prepared for a Zodiac cruise at Kinnes Cove, where we ventured out for a close look at icebergs. The intense blue of some of the icebergs had an almost neon quality, glowing out from their snowy tops, and the textures and shapes of the others held us spellbound. A Weddell seal was soon spotted and several were eventually seen both in the water and on ice floes. One lucky Zodiac watched an iceberg overturn as it shed part of its ice and set up a new equilibrium. Two Minke Whales were also spotted and these led the last few Zodiacs back towards the ship.

Back on board it was time for recap and after Conrad had told us about tomorrow's possibilities, I spoke about the Adelie Penguins we had seen while Franz spoke about the fossils that can be found in Antarctica, mentioning extinct giant penguins that were over 5 feet tall. Then came the Venetian Society Cocktail party for guests who had previously sailed with Silversea. The returning guests who had sailed the most were honoured, including some who had spent more than 500 days on Silversea cruises. The day concluded with the usual fabulous dinner and I went to sleep hoping that tomorrow's penguins would be as entertaining as today's.