The Champagne Backpacker: Michael's Round the World Trip 2005-2007-- The Adventure of a Lifetime travel blog

Expedition Geologist Lance Provides A Briefing On Volcanism Prior To Landing At...

Ashore At Deception Island, An Active Volcano

Remnants Of A Drydock


Stacie And Me, With Explorer

Remnants Of A Boat

Enjoying The Thermal Waters Of Deception Island

Swimming In Antarctic Waters

Nice Boots!

It Wasn't Too Cold, Really

Aitcho Island

Chinstrap Penguins

Chinstrap Penguin

Chinstrap Penguins Endure The Cold

Chinstrap Penguin Calls Out

Along The Beach At Aitcho Island

Expedition Leader Aaron And I Chat During Our Last Moments On Land...

Captain Grankvist On The Bridge As We Sail Back Into The Drake...

Horse shoe shaped Deception Island is an old whaling station. It's black sand beach steams with the smell of sulfur due to its volcanic origins and activity. Explorer's staff dug out sand and created some shallow thermal pools for passengers to soak in. The water was a little too warm; I preferred the chilly waters of the bay.

From Deception Island, Explorer sailed northeast to Aitcho Island. Here we would finally get a close up view of Chinstrap penguins, who we saw from a distance at Elephant Island. There are seven million pairs of Chinstrap penguins spread throughout the Antarctic peninsula and southern islands. Chinstraps grow to about 27 inches tall and weigh 9 pounds. They feed on Krill and fish. They generally make their nests on high, snow-free ground. Chinstraps are smaller than Gentoos and are distinguished by the thin black line of feathers going from ear to ear beneath the chin and cheeks, hence the name.

Aitcho Island was the last stop before returning to Ushuaia. It was also the coldest and snowiest, a taste of true Antarctic weather on our final stop. Up until this day, we had had generally good, sunny weather landings. Many returned to Explorer early due to the cold and wet conditions. I was one of the last to return to Explorer as, with a two day sail ahead of us, I wanted to spend as much time off the boat as possible. I got a chance to catch up with expedition leader Aaron and to enjoy my final moments alone in Antarctica.

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