Sunday 13 January 2013

South Shetland

The night was a little bumpy although by the hour wind and swell diminished. After breakfast we had our mandatory briefing – how to behave, what we can and what we can’t do in Antarctica. Some of the rules are obvious but some not, so it was good to learn how to disturb the least as possible the life in Antarctica for future generations to see the amazing beauty of the continent. At about 11 am we spotted the first iceberg, and an hour later land was on sight – Robert Island in the South Shetland Islands. We made it!
The MV Fram was surrounded by a few dozen of Cape Petrels’, few giant Petrels and hundreds of penguins jumping as we moved along as we entered the Nelson Strait.  Before the MV FRAM reached our first landing destination we were also greeted by a breaching Humpback whale.

At 4 pm Fram drop anchor on the lee side of Half Moon Island. Bright sunshine and only a light breeze in some areas made a perfect condition to have a first meeting with penguins.

During the dinner we had plenty to talk about. Few guests, who conquered the 95 m high hill top of Saddleback Ridge, mentioned a strong wind on the other side of the island. Of course everybody has seen Chinstrap penguins since there are almost 3500 breeding pairs of those guys nest there. Some of us have seen a few Gentoo Penguins and the lonely Macaroni Penguin.
At the evening we were briefed that tomorrow we’ll have a chance to see one more species – the Adelie penguin. We are looking forward to it!