Day 6 |
Jan 08, 2012

Cuverville Island, Neko Harbour, Lemaire Channel, Antarctic Peninsula

By Shoshanah Jacobs, Marine Biologist

Co-ordinates: 64o 52’ S, 062o 34’ W
Air Temperature: 1o C
Pressure: 974 HPa
Wind: 15 km / hour
Weather: Overcast and calm, with sunny periods

Today was a Zodiac-driving day for me on the Antarctic Peninsula. And that was just fine. Sometimes it is those moments alone when amazing things happen. This morning we pulled in early in front of Cuverville Island where our guests were able to get a sneak peek at the walk that was on offer to them for the morning. But instead of being dissuaded, our guests came to the beach in great numbers and began the trek to the top with Juan, our geologist, Uli, and Aiello, our marine biologists, up the steep and slippery slopes to the top. They tell me that the view was not to be missed! But I was not there. I was in a Zodiac and after shuttling our guests to the shore, a whale was spotted near the ship and I just happened to be available to hang out with it to assess its mood and determine whether we could get a closer look later on.

The humpback whale was seriously deformed and its tail looked as though it had had a nasty run in with a cookie cutter: a perfect circle was missing from the center of its fluke. We moved on together for about an hour and our speeds seemed to have adjusted to match so that this whale and I were moving along together towards Orney Harbour. But that was, unfortunately, not in the direction of our guests. My way back the ship was fairly long and rarely do we get the chance to be off by ourselves so far away for so long. On my way back I passed some beautiful icebergs and, to my great luck, one of them broke apart and began to turn very quickly, all the way over. How wonderful!!! Back at the landing site we witnessed another iceberg breaking apart and rolling over and I managed to call it on the radio in time for many of our guests to see it!

Back on board, lunch was a quick one as we were just sailing down the Errera Channel to Andvord Bay and into Neko Harbour, just a few miles away. And off we were again, this time on a Zodiac cruise and then a landing on the continent itself. The cruise was great. I had a terrifically enthusiastic group of guests that really enjoyed following a couple of humpback whales through the ice. We slowly crept up on them and the whales slowed down quite a bit giving us fantastic views of their flukes as they dove deeply to feed on krill in these rich waters. And then a toast! A bit of whiskey poured over glacial ice is always a big hit on board and my colleague and I have made it our special treat for our guests. If you put your ear to the glass you can hear the release of air from thousands of years ago! Snap Crackle and Pop!

Back on board we cancelled the Recap & Briefing so that we could have a cocktail party on the back deck… my kind of activity indeed! We sailed through Paradise Bay, passed another expedition ship, and then we sailed further south to the Lemaire Channel. By 22.30 we were sailing towards a perfect sunset right in the middle of the Channel. It was flat calm and all guests and many crew were out on the decks to enjoy the navigation together. It was a perfect way to end a very busy day on board.