Friday 11 December 2009

Mainland Antarctica - Almirante Brown and Neko Harbour

This morning we arrived at Almirante Brown, the Argentine base located in the heart of Paradise Bay. Alas, the weather did not allow us to clearly see why it is called Paradise Bay: the fog and snow were so thick we could only occasionally see the ship from the shore. However, the weather did not stop us from climbing the 120 metres to the top of the hill behind the base. From atop, we did manage to get a glimpse of the glaciers around us, and also of the bay. Most passengers decided to return to the landing spot the fun way – by sliding down the hill! At the landing spot, a juvenile leopard seal paid us a short visit.

Our second landing was at Neko Harbour, where the wind was also blowing hard and the snow falling fast. It was interesting to see the gentoo penguins cope with the storm, getting covered by snow. Although the rookery at Neko Harbour is a gentoo one, we saw four chinstrap penguins in the beach, mingling with the local inhabitants. A cruel irony was that the minute we finished our landing, the sun came out. This was not too bad, though, as it
meant we had a beautiful sight of the Errera channel as we traversed it en route to the Gerlache Strait.