Wednesday 9 February 2011

Shopping and Whaling in Antarctica

Our day started with a landing in Port Lockroy, the former British Station Base A. Today it is a museum with a souvenir shop that is maintained and operated by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust. For most of us Port Lockroy was the last possibility to buy some Antarctic gifts for our family and friends at home. And here we could be sure, that our shopping was a good thing, because the profits from the sales at the Port Lockroy shop are used by the UKAHT to restore historical buildings in Antarctica. We were fortunate to see the profits at work by the construction crew as they installed a new roof on the building at Detaille Island, the former British Base W.
The afternoon we spent cruising in Wilhelmina Bay, looking for wildlife. And we were very fortunate. Directly at the entrance of the bay we saw our first humpback whales and little bit later we saw big pod of killer whales. The next there were two sleeping humpback whales, a mother and a calf. We passed by with MV FRAM very slowly, so that we could make nice pictures. But only some minutes later we had an unbelievable experience, which was the “Highlight of the day”. For nearly half an hour we could watch a female and male humpback whale swimming together very close to the FRAM. They were turning over, waving with their very long white flippers and also showing us their heads and their flukes. It was the best whale show you can imagine, better than all Walt Disney Films you can buy. It was hard for us to say good bye to our new friends, but we decided to let them alone and headed for our next destination in the Antarctic Sound.

After dinner we had the opportunity to learn to make different nautical knots. It looked very easy, when we watched the men from our deck department, but we were not sure, if we could do the knots this fast by ourselves.
The evening ended with the famous MV FRAM crew show. We will never forget all the different kind of talents they showed us. And we would like to say “thank you” to the crew that spent so much time to entertain us.