Day 7 |
Dec 28, 2011

Antarctic Peninsula

By Shoshanah Jacobs, Marine Biologist

Co-ordinates: 63o 23’ S, 059o 17’ W
Air Temperature: 0.5o C
Pressure: 974 HPa
Wind: 40 km / hour
Weather: Overcast and calm

This morning’s navigation through the Antarctic Sound was not missed by many, but I have to admit that I was snuggled up deep into my blankets at such an early time. And for good reason! This morning’s standby time was 05.00! So up at 04.15, a quick cup of coffee and off to work! Thank goodness the commute isn’t far.

It was my turn for side-gate duty and, as we had launched the boats already, our guests were getting ready to join us on this snowy day at Brown Bluff, our continental landing right on the northernmost tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. The first group was off in record time and even a bit ahead of schedule and I saw them scatter in all directions, some up the glacier, others to the penguin rookery but by the end – and with all the snow – it became difficult to distinguish the humans from the penguins on the beach! About an hour later our second round of guests were off and by 08.00, everyone was enjoying a hot cup of something in The Restaurant over a long and satisfying breakfast.

But there wasn’t much time to rest up. Captain Alexander found wonderful icebergs to approach and put us all in the best photographic positions possible. These tabular icebergs were simply majestic.

And as we pulled into Kinnes Cove I knew that the side-gate was going to be busy once again! Off went the first group for a Zodiac cruise around the icebergs and penguin colonies. I managed to sneak into the last boat on the last cruise of the day and what fun we had! We saw the remains of a Leopard Seal hunt, a few Weddell Seals, many many Adelie Penguins, beautiful drydock icebergs and Stan Lee, our garden gnome from a garden gnome garden in Stanley on the Falkland Islands even got to take his first steps on an ice floe complete with Adelie Penguins! A bit of silliness on this holiday cruise that had us all laughing our way back to the gangway.

Our Venetian Society Cocktail Party ran a bit late because… well…. Antarctica is just so darn amazing and our Captain, once again, found probably the most beautiful iceberg that I have ever seen on my travels so far. It was a piece of a tabular iceberg, now angular with towering pillars and gentle sloping ridges with a huge arch through one side. Even the staff had their photos taken standing in front of it!

And as the light began to fade on the Peninsula, I slipped into my bed once again excited about tomorrow’s adventures.