Friday 18 February 2011

Bay Day!

We are now in Marguerite Bay where we spent all day. Early in the morning we reached the southernmost point of our voyage: 68°15’S. Close by we then had our first landing – at stunning Stonington!

As the glacier retreat revealed that there is no connection with the mainland, we know in our times that Stonington is an island. But in former years this place was used as a base to go up to the Antarctic plateau. We can still see and visit the remains of the old American and British stations here.

There was no wind and a mild temperature of 5°C – many of the passengers thought that these were the perfect conditions for a polar plunge! First the thought then the action: we had 23 swimmers who actually dived into the icy waters close to the beach! Congratulations!!!

After lunch FRAM headed back northwards towards our next destination, Horseshoe Island. Again we had the opportunity to walk through an old station from the fifties – now maintained by the Antarctic Heritage Trust of the UK. Tudor Morgan, the Trust’s Operations Manager, whom we had picked up from Port Lockroy a few days before, was very happy that he had the opportunity to do some measurements at this rarely visited place.

In the evening the expedition staff gathered in the observation lounge for a question & answer round with the passengers. Many interesting topics were discussed: penguins, ice, geology… and even the Greenlandic inspiration of the interior design of FRAM was explained!