South by Southeast late 2018 - early 2019 travel blog



iceberg in foreground

the Midnatsol

zodiac view

seal beach

our home away from home

seal beach

stand off

gentoo penguin


chin strap




chin strap penguins

kayak tour


fur seal




penguins swimming


We are not scheduled to arrive on the continent of ice until tomorrow. We have apparently made good time since yesterday afternoon when the sun came out and the seas turned glassy. First we spotted a huge icebergs and then the land itself covered with snowy mountains. At first it looked like an optical illusion. The temperature hovers around freezing, so when we walk the deck it is covered with ice. It's hard to believe, but it is much colder at home. Whales are spouting in the distance, but not close enough for good photos.

We go ashore three zodiacs at a time. It takes at least half an hour to get dressed for the ride. I was flashing back to my toddler days when my mother dressed me up in a snow suit so I could go out to play. Long winter underwear, regular clothing, fleece, rain pants, three pairs of socks, lined boots, rain pants and a jacket. Assorted hats and mittens. The crew goes to the island ahead of us to mark off the areas where we should not go and paths which are OK for us so that we don't bother the animals. Unfortunately sometimes they don't get the message. We were walking down a path minding our own business and a fur seal scolded us fiercely for getting too close. Overall, while they are aware of us wandering around, they don't seem particularly bothered.

This Half Moon Island, so named for its shape, is a caldera inside a protected bay. We saw an old wooden whaling boat pulled up on shore. In this cold, dry climate it take forever for things to decompose. Chin strap penguins live on this island. They are easy to identify; they look just like their name would suggest. On the island we walked on dry scree, but the snow drifts were nearby.

It's such a thrill to finally be here!

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