Day 14 |
Dec 08, 2011

Cuverville and Neko Harbour, Antarctica 

By Shoshanah Jacobs – Marine Biologist and Zodiac-Driver

Position: 64°34’ S, 62°41’ W
Air temperature: 0 °C, 32.0 °F
Water temperature: 1 °C, 33.8 °F
Air pressure: 978 hPa
Wind speed: 0-30 km/h

Last night's wave action kept most of us awake as the ship manoeuvred through some rather choppy water to bring us along the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. But the effort would not disappoint. We pulled in front of Cuverville Island, at the north entrance to the Errera Channel early in the morning. Many guests were already outside admiring the view that came and went with the fog. The conditions were flat calm and before us lay dozens of large icebergs in the iceberg graveyard just in front of the landing site. I got in my Zodiac and made my way to shore to help scout a way through the ice to the beach. We landed the first group of guests: those that would walk to the very top of the island and then... well... Murphy played a funny joke and the engine of my boat would not stay in the frigid water! So a quick change of boat, and then we resumed disembarkation for those guests who wanted to explore the beach. By the time I made it to shore, the hikers were at the summit: 11 had made it to see a wonderful view of the inside of a cloud. But though it was foggy, their impressive effort did not go unnoticed and all enjoyed the challenge. On the beach, the penguins were delightful and I marched up and down the human highway filling in boot holes that were just a little too deep for a passing penguin. Our return to the ship took us past many beautiful icebergs and though the day was cloudy and grey, the deep blues of the ice were only enhanced.

We heaved anchor and sailed through the Errera Channel among hundreds of icebergs of all shapes and sizes. Lunch was spent staring out the windows as we ate.

We arrived at Neko Harbour a few minutes late because the ice had slowed our progress slightly. But not to worry: the sun was out and we were all anxious to make it to shore. I jumped into the Zodiac and went to shore with my friends to scout out the walking trail. Then I headed up the hill to the viewpoint above the glacier to point out the way to the guests that would be making their way up throughout the landing. Half the guests were on a Zodiac tour while the other half were on shore. Only 8 guests made their way up to where I was so I took the opportunity to do a little 'tourism' of my own and enjoy the view while I did a bit of glacier watching. The glacier did not disappoint: it creaked and groaned and shed a few pieces of ice. Two skuas did a mating dance at my feet. What a perfect way to spend the afternoon.

Back on board we gathered on the back deck for a cocktail and some music instead of our usual Recap & Briefing. The navigation out of the Neko Harbour just could not be missed! A perfect way to end the day!