Today we heard many comments: “was worth the whole trip”, “this is paradise”, “…incredible!”…many passengers were speechless just standing and staring. The beauty of the king penguins in the bright sunshine and blue sky is hard to describe to a person who has not been there and seen it first hand. You have to experience it, hear it, smell it and watch it to understand what we were fortunate to have before us today.
Not only were the king penguins a delight for us, the beaches were also populated by dozens, perhaps hundreds, of funny little baby fur seals playing and fighting with each other.
Another highlight of the day was the “Shackleton Walk”. Some of us followed the legendary trail of “the Boss” replicating the last segment of his 1916 legendary crossing of the mountainous backbone of this rugged island. The walk started in Fortuna Bay, our first landing site, and it took us about 3 hours to make the 5.5 km or 3.5 mi crossing to the abandoned Stromness whaling station. It was at this whaling station that Shackleton, finally reached civilization, after having lost his ship Endurance and after accomplishing two extremely difficult small boat journeys. The rusting buildings still stand, but today they are occupied by fur seals and reindeer.
Full of emotions and impressions we returned to FRAM and perhaps it is good that we have two sea days ahead of us in order to digest and get ready for yet another totally different environment: the Falkland Islands.