Monday, 28 February 2011

Glaciers, penguins, stations…in one day!

We are on an expedition cruise and this means that not always everything can be carried out as previously scheduled. This is exactly what happened this morning. At our planned landing site the swell was too heavy and a safe landing was not possible.

But there is always a plan B and in our case it turned out to be fabulous. The FRAM just continued its way south and we managed to go ashore in beautiful Neko Harbor a small bay surrounded by impressive glaciers. Neko is a continental landing and now we have all been on Antarctica as such! Here we could walk up a snowy hill towards a very scenic viewpoint or we could simply stay with the hundreds of gentoo penguins scattered along the shoreline. Curious chicks approached some of us to have a closer look at these funny big blue penguins!

In the afternoon we visited the Chilean station Gonzalez Videla, with its small museum and souvenir shop. We could also climb up a little tower on the roof of the main building. And of course there were more penguins all over the place! The Chilean base commander told us that they counted more than 3,500 chicks this season.
Snow algae produce beautiful green and red colours

The day concluded with the FRAM cruising through Paradise Bay, again in dramatic light conditions (incredible, how many shades of grey there are!) and as darkness fell, we could see another station, the Argentinean Almirante Brown.