Day 5 |
Feb 23, 2012

Cuverville Island & Neko Harbour

By Juan Carlos Restrepo, Geologist

Co-ordinates: S 64º41’48”, W 62º36’11”
Weather: Sunny with scattered clouds.
Air Temperature: -1ºC
Pressure: 961 hPa
Wind: 5 knots

The Errera channel and Neko Harbour are, in my opinion, some of the most beautiful sections of the Antarctic Peninsula, and that’s where the Silver Explorer operated today.

We dropped anchor this morning just north of Cuverville, a small island situated at the northern entrance to the Errera Channel. As we were sailing in, we enjoyed an incredible and beautiful alpine landscape: monumental glaciers ending in the sea, steep and sharp mountains peaks, and lots of icebergs floating in perfectly still water. The place looked like a black and white wonderland.

At 8 am we were starting to disembark those guests that chose to join us on a hike to the top of the island. Many of our guests followed me all the way to the top and their efforts were rewarded with stunning views of the Errera Channel, Danco and Ronge islands. It was truly spectacular, plus there was no wind, lots of sunshine and only a few scattered clouds – Antarctica at its best.

Many guests walked half way up to a ridge where they also had great, elevated views of the area, and could observe some more penguins. Those that didn’t come up enjoyed the beach area and two Gentoo penguin rookeries, with some smaller chicks than the ones they had seen previously.

We came on board for lunch while the Silver Explorer sailed out through the Errera Channel into the Gerlache Strait and into Andvord Bay. We anchored in front of Neko Harbour and offered a Zodiac cruise followed by a continental landing for all our guests! For many people this was their seventh continent. Once ashore many hiked up the mountain to a nice viewpoint and a fun and exhilarating slide down by tobogganing on the snow.

During the Zodiac tour some got lucky to see a couple humpback whales that were in the area. The whales did not seem to mind the Zodiacs at all. They came quite close to the still boats and spy hopped, leaving all in awe. They occasionally swam right next to and under some of the Zodiacs! We also saw a few crabeater seals, gentoo penguins swimming around and a very curious leopard seal that spent over an hour at the landing site nibbling on our Zodiacs...

Just before six we came back on board and got ready for a Recap & Briefing before dinner, however, the Recap didn’t happen. Because the scenery was so spectacular, Conrad our Expedition Leader, and Hotel Director Birgit decided to throw a cocktail party on the aft deck as we sailed out of Andvord Bay towards the Neumayer Channel. It was indeed a wonderful idea, as the landscape was truly magnificent.

Conrad gave a short briefing on our plans for tomorrow, and during dinner Captain Adam Boczek sailed the ship through the very scenic Neumayer Channel, a beautiful passage that took us to Port Lockroy where we dropped anchor at 10 pm.

The plans for tomorrow are looking very exciting; I am looking forward to it. Stay tuned!