Day 6 |
Dec 04, 2009

Port Lockroy/ Jougla Point, Lemaire Channel & Plenuea Bay

By Rich Kirchner, General Naturalist

Co-ordinates: 64°49’S, 63°29’W & 65°06.5’S, 64°01.9’W

Weather: Cool temperatures, overcast and some wind in the morning, partly cloudy and calm in the afternoon

I woke up this morning at 5:45 am to cold, windy and gray conditions. We were just about to enter the Neumayer Channel on our way to Soon Port Lockroy, and our morning landings. Even though the weather was not the best, there were a lot of the guests up and about, enjoying the scenery in this winding waterway. Along the way, we saw a number of Minke whales, including one group of four.

Soon the ship arrived at our destination, and we anchored. It was not long before a Zodiac was launched and several of the Expedition Team members headed to Goudier Island to pick up the five station residents, and bring them onboard for a hot shower and a little breakfast. While that was happening, myself and a few other staff members went to Jougla Point to set up for that half of our dual landing.

About 8:30, the first two Zodiac groups headed for the station on Goudier Island. After they all were on shore, the next two groups came to visit us and the Gentoo penguins and Shags on Jougla. Even though there still was a lot of snow, most people were able to get around well enough to enjoy the landing.

Around 9:45 the switch began, a Zodiac of guests headed to Goudier, while a Zodiac from the station came to Jougla. This process continued until all the guests had been shuttled from one site to the other, and the second half of the dual landing began.

At the station the guests did a little shopping at the gift shop, and bought, wrote and mailed post cards from Antarctica. There was one final collection of post cards from the ship, which were delivered to shore, and then we were off toward our afternoon destination, the Lemaire Channel.

The weather was improving rapidly, and right around 2:00 pm the call was made by our Expedition Leader, Conrad, for everyone to dress warmly and join myself and the rest of the expedition staff out on deck for our cruise through this magnificent, narrow channel. A few more Minke whales were seen along the way, and a lot of photos were snapped. Just around 3:00, we exited the other end, and the whole Expedition Team got ready for the next adventure, a Zodiac cruise through many icebergs behind Pleneau Point.

By the time I was in my Zodiac and ready to pick up guests, the sun was out and there was the burning question, “ Who has sunscreen with them”? This is one of my favorite places in Antarctica, and it did not let me down! I took my boat load of guests on a voyage discovery through the infinite shapes and sizes of icebergs in the area, stopping to take photos, and discover how unique each one was compared to the next.

Along the way, we had two great surprises – more Minke whales, this time observed from our Zodiac perspective, and the hotel staff in a Zodiac, serving champagne and chocolate to our guests. By 6:30, we had all gotten back on board, and after a short briefing and recap, dinner was served.

Most would think this was plenty for one day, but the weather continued to improve, and the Captain decided to take us back through the Neumayer Channel after dinner on our way toward our next morning’s landing at Couverville Island. What a day!