Position: 65°18.89’S, 064°19.98’W
Weather: Cloudy with a fresh breeze and some snow
Today we were visiting two places – Cape Renard for a Zodiac tour, and Vernadsky Station (a Ukrainian research base). Vernandsky would be our southernmost stop for this journey in Antarctica.
We arrived at Cape Renard at 9:00am and headed off on a magnificent Zodiac tour of the cape and its bays. It was very cold (-1°C / 30°F) but with plenty of layers and protective gear, we remained relatively warm for the hour and a half tour.
We cruised along the coast marveling at the tall glaciers and rigid peaks. The drivers took us into two of the small bays, which were lined with glaciers and snow fields. It was truly amazing – the range of colours and shapes! Amazing scenery! At one point, every Zodiac turned off its engine so we were slowly drifting with the ice and surrounded by nothing but the sounds of the Antarctic nature!
Once back onboard, we warmed up and had a leisurely lunch. But, at 3:00pm, we were ready to go again! This time to Vernadsky Station – a Ukrainian station that was bought from the British (Faraday Station) for a symbolic amount of 1 pound. The station employees greeted us warmly and brought us inside the station for a guided tour, followed by several shots of good Russian vodka! We had a blast- dancing and laughing and enjoying the new friendships.
Since only about 30 people could land at a time at the station, the rest of us went on another Zodiac tour around the base, where we had a good look at a leopard seal and a Weddell seal hauled out on the ice. There were also lots of Kelp gulls, Gentoo penguins, Antarctic terns and Blue-eyed shags.
All in all, it was a fantastic day filled with amazing scenery, fabulous wildlife and good cheer.