Sunday 17 November 2013

Welcome to the Antarctic Peninsula

As we had quite a storm during our crossing from South Georgia to the Peninsula we had a delay of half a day. Our first landing that had been planned at the Polish Arctowski Station, we could not manage. But the weather changed from wind and storm to beautiful sunshine and so we enjoyed our morning on board, looking for seabirds, whales – and at least we saw some blows – and of course we made hundreds of pictures from our first view of the Antarctic Peninsula.

There was again this feeling to be in paradise.

Around 16:00 we reached Half Moon Island and then the moment came when we could set our first step in Antarctica. As there has been no wind and lots of sunshine it was so warm. Nobody expected this and so nearly everybody was dressed up too warm!

Chinstrap Penguins were waiting for us and welcomed us in their huge colony. A Weddell Seal was sleeping directly on the beach next to our landing site. The whole landscape was covered with snow. We got the feeling that we and the penguins, and of course the Weddell Seal, have been together with some gulls and skuas the only living creatures on earth.

The lecture staff flagged a route into the snow that we could follow easily. And then you could hear the clicking of our cameras all over the place. Thousands of pictures were done from the magnificent landscape and the Chinstrap Penguins.


On one place in the penguin colony we could find a Macaroni Penguin sitting in the middle of hundreds of Chinstraps. Everybody tried to get at least a view on this “generally” sub-Antarctic bird.

At the same time our kayakers started their first kayak round in Antarctica. Congratulations to all of them. To see them alone in front of this amazing glacier scenery was incredible.

In the later evening our Captain Rune Andreassen gave us a special plus. As we had still some daylight he went through “Neptune’s Bellows” into Deception Island, this amazing caldera in a still very young (out of a geological view) and active volcano. In the caldera we have been able to get a little impression of the old whaling station in Whaler’s Bay. Thanks to the captain to give us this unexpected experience.

Photo: Joe Decker
The evening ended with a fruit- and ice carving show done by our very creative galley crew. It is amazing how they can change fruits and ice into amazing art!