Saturday 13 February 2010

Got'cha Penguin!!

Ok, we were bragging yesterday, so we will be very low key about the events of today: It was even better!! In the morning we were all getting ready for a hideously early landing at Brown Bluff. The weather was beautiful and there was hardly any wind. Perfect landing conditions, but, alas, the ice was blocking the landing site. Oh my, we could have stayed in bed, everybody thought; but not so, because instead of landing we went for a cruise with Fram along the ice in search of wildlife. And, lo and behold, after a while we came across what we all had secretly been hoping for when we came to this northern part of the Antarctic Peninsula. There on an ice flow an Emperor Penguin was basking in the sun. This unique inhabitant of Antarctica seemed to enjoy all the attention he was getting, because he patiently remained in place until everybody had their picture of him. Only then did he take to the water. For us it was time to leave the Antarctic Sound for the South Shetland Islands and as we were getting into open water we struck it lucky yet again. A sizable pod of Orcas were travelling alongside us at high speed for a short while. They were actually the only species we had not seen on this voyage. After this nothing, we thought, could really excite us any more.

We were taught differently in the evening when we went for the last landing of this cruise at Halfmoon Island. It was already rather late when we got here, so the light was getting dim, but again the wildlife presented new firsts for us. We had seen penguins and seals all right, but so far no Chinstraps and no Fur Seals (not up close at any rate). Here they were on the beach in abundance, and we saw them in perfect weather conditions with wonderful evening light in front of the breathtaking panorama of the islands. Again we cannot but be grateful for another unforgettable day.