|Deb gets up early to drink coffee and eat pastries outside on the deck and to watch the amazing scenery go by. The weather is so much nicer today than yesterday. The wind has calmed and while cold (around 30 degrees), it is not bad under blankets.
We sail on Gerlache Strait following the shores of Brabant Island. We pass Cuverville Island and Wiencke Island. It is late summer here and snow has disappeared in places revealing a very rugged landscape. Less than 5 percent of Antarctica is free of ice and yet the Antarctic is considered to be very dry and arid (some call it a desert). At the base of the mountains are ice cliffs. These ice cliffs are what remain when the ice sheet breaks off and floats away as icebergs. There is often a glacier in the U- or V-shape crevices. Many flow directly into the water. We had hoped to see glacier “calving” but no such luck. It is probably too late in the season. There are lots of penguins swimming in the water and an occasional seal is seen basking in the sun on an iceberg. We have not seen whales yet.
We turn into Paradise Bay. It is named because of the towering mountains which reflect on the clear still water. It is an amazingly beautiful and protected inlet. About halfway through the harbor, we encounter another cruise ship anchored off Brown Station (Argentina) It only carries approximately 70 passengers so they are able to go ashore using zodiac (large inflatable rubber boats).
As we travel into Andvord Bay, it looks as if someone has had a whipped cream fight. The bay is dotted with thousands of white ice pieces. Some are very tiny and others quite large. The shapes of these icebergs are very interesting. Some are very white with sharp points. Others appear to be outlined in light blue ---places where the ice is barely covered by seawater.