Saturday 16 February 2013

Early bird gets the worm

 0630 – Two adult and one calf humpback whale to starboard side!  With icebergs in the forefront and glaciers as a backdrop, a good way to start the day!
Two hours later we were deep in Andvord Bay, landing in one of the most incredible spots:  Neko Harbour.  We placed foot on the Antarctic continent today, for some, the last elusive 7th, for others one of the most beautiful places they have ever been.  Massive glacial walls, over a dozen Humpbacks, half a dozen Minke whales, a Weddell seal on the beach, two Leopard seals patrolling the beach, and of course a wonderfully scenically located Gentoo penguin colony.  People who braved the climb to the viewpoint were rewarded with spectacular views of the bay and the option to let loose and slide down the mountain.

Back on board for lunch, we were treated to the picturesque landscape of Paradise Bay on our way to Petermann Island, located 65o10’ S.  We took in breathtaking ice-berg alley and went to look for Adelie penguins and blue-eye shags.  To make the experience that much more real, the otherwise rocky and muddy island got covered in snow within the hour.  But we found what we were looking for, helped some of our new friends over the slippery rocks along the way, and were just blown away, if not by the wind, then by the resilience and comic relief of these wonderful black and white seabirds.