Wednesday 16 February 2011

Antarctica – here we are!

Anja, our Expedition Leader, told us in the daily morning greeting that we had already crossed the Antarctic Convergence, meaning we had reached Antarctic waters! And close to midday we started to enter the Nelson Strait. On both sides of the ship we could see the first glaciers and peaks of the South Shetland Islands. And some humpback whales showed up!

After having been briefed about the IAATO Guidelines, having vacuum cleaned our backpacks and having picked up our life jackets we were all ready for our first landing.

It took place on Halfmoon Island, a tiny little island packed with wildlife. Chinstrap penguins, skuas, kelp gulls, young fur seals, giant petrels… and even some gentoo penguins.

The swell was quite remarkable and the Expedition Team did a great job to keep our polar circle boats in place for embarkation and disembarkation on the beach. Hard work for them, and quite impressive how they stood for 4 hours in the freezing water, sometimes up to the waist!

Now MV Fram has set sail again and we are heading for Deception Island where we will have a glimpse to the entrance of the caldera, called Neptune’s Bellow, later in the evening.