|Hi all, well we have made it back from Antarctica in one piece after crossing the famous Drake passage which is known for it's rough seas. We boarded the boat in the afternoon. Boat was called the Ushuaia. We had a nice cabin with bunk beds and a window.
The meals on board were excellent, they were all three course meals with a great variety. On the last night we had a salmon starter then soup, then fillet mignon main course and baked alaska for dessert. Closely followed by champagne ! The service was great and the drinks were not too expensive (although we had already decided to bring on board 6 litres of wine !!).
We met loads of great people and our team won the quiz so we got a free drink as well (Monica and myself being the brains of the team of course !!!). The following is a summary of each of the days.
Day 1 & 2
Lectures & films about Antarctica while we crossed the Drake passage
Afternoon we arrived at Penguin island (south shetland islands). Saw our first elephant seal and penguins (gentoo). The weather then turned bad and we had to get back to the boat quick smart to avoid the rough seas. We had little Zodiac boats to take us to and from the landing points. They were great fun !
Jubany station (King George island). An Argentinian base. More penguins but mainly seals (elephant and leopard), fighting each other. We had our passports stamped with an Antarctica stamp !
Afternoon landing was at Point Hannequin (King George island). More penguins and beautiful snowfall.
Hannah point on livingston island. Penguin colony with different types of penguin (gentoo, chinstrap, adelie & macaroni). Also saw seals and a bird knick a penguins eggs.
Whalers bay on Deception island, however this landing was abandoned as the weather was too bad.
Foyn harbour. Did a zodiac tour around the icebergs. The weather was gorgeous and it was a really nice tour. The scenery was amazing and we saw some crabeater and weddel seals resting on the ice.
Cuverville island. Big colony of Gentoo penguins and saw a rare albino penguin.
After this landing we headed south but the ice was coming in around the boat to trap us so we had to do a u turn and go back. The 'ice' captain steared us out of danger ! The landscape was amazing and watching all the ice form on the water was incredible.
Meusinier point, charlotte bay (mainland Antarctica). There was not too much wildlife but we built a wicked ice slide and had competitions to see who could go the fastest and furthest !
Afternoon Zodiac tour to see icebergs, some of which were 1000's of years old. It was very cold but we were rewarded by seeing a baby seal near the end of the trip.
Half moon island (south shetland islands). Penguin colony.
Pendulum cove (deception island). We revisted this island and took a walk along the coast line. Another beautiful day, and at the end we stripped down and plunged into the freezing cold southern ocean and then quickly went into one of the thermal springs which lie along the coast. Deception island has a large volcano (last erupted in 1967) and there is a lot of thermal activity. It was kind of bizarre sitting in a thermal pool with ice and penguins all around !
Day 9 & 10
Back through the Drake passage with more films and lectures. We are now experts in Antarctic wildlife and explorers ! We had a party on the the last night and then after breakfast on day 11 we said our fairwells to the boat. It was strange picking up our backpacks again after having a home for ten days !
Hope everyone is well.
All the best from Monica and Nick.