It was a night of absolutely no waves as our ship moved along the Antarctic Peninsula. I woke up to an early morning snow and with a large amount of anticipation for the day ahead. Today we will be cruising around in the Zodiacs and I look forward to seeing more wildlife (words cannot do justice to what the day has in store for me.)
Yesterday was filled with amazement and when we first saw land, one of tmy fellow passengers brought out a small bottle of scotch. We all toasted the arrival by taking sips and passing the bottle around. When you do something like this, Antarctica, it can never be taken away from you and it will always be more than a memory. We all got the sense of this and in a good way were pleased with ourselves – dare I say our decision to embark on this journey. This sentiment is true for everyone.
One of the highlights of my day was staying on deck when everyone else went to dinner, as this is when I first saw land. The crew of the ship diligently weaved in and out of large ice floats. I have so many pictures of ice that I am sure that I will be the only one to appreciate revisiting them.
The Ice itself is special here and I think a look at the water will prove this out. The water is a deep Prussian blue, and the ice floats and the coast are lit up with this blue and shaded in many different levels that seem as if an artist actually painted them. That artist would need to be a master to reach this type of beauty. One of my fellow adventurers on the ship noted that it looked like ink from a giant pen was poured out upon the ice floats.
As we approached land yesterday we saw many Petrals and other sea birds that live/breed on the continent. We spent hours photographing them and people were quite pleased with themselves. They birds fly in huge numbers all around the ship. It was around this time, when we were about two hours from land. that we saw the first couple of Humpback whales. Now we have all seen whales, just think of the Pacific Life Insurance commercial, but to see them in person in this pristine expanse of Antarctic is amazing.
When dinner ended I was far from alone anymore and the first people came up on deck asking if someone could take their picture. I do not exaggerate when I say that the sun was brilliant against an even more brilliant landscape. Let me take a break from this post to say that as I type I am looking out the window from the bar/observation lounge and I see penguin flocks jumping happily in and out of the water as they follow the ship (To everyone at home it may be Chester!)
As we voyaged along the coast it started happening, humpbacks in groups of two and sometimes three started to swim close to the ship. These whales were magnificent however I am sorry to say I did not get a good photo of them. However, I am pleased to say that one of the youngest passengers a ten year old girl, got the shot of a lifetime of a whale leaping out of the water as the water splashed around its body. This amateur photographer strolled around all of the decks proudly showing us the victory that was her photo.
One of the funniest moments of the evening happened when one of our most energetic travellers, leaning off of the side of the ship from the top deck, yelled to a group of us that had cameras on deck six, that there was something off the port side. We looked, and it was just sea birds. We looked up at him and said; Birds! as we went back to scanning the water and Ice floats. He then yelled back to us “yeah birds were so two hours ago!” The laughter was thunderous as all of us shared in each others energy.
There is an open bridge policy here and many of us just stood on the bridge and watched in amazement as we saw seals, whales, and Gentoo penguins and of course we saw birds. What I cannot describe is the totality of the beauty and for this I shot pictures and video. I am sad to say that they will never do justice to what we felt as we walked about the decks but I can give those that liked the movie “Contact” an idea. As we looked out it was clear, that we had no words to describe the beauty-no words.
We all sat up with tea and coffee till about 1am and many of us were up at 4am. We are entering the channel now and the views demand I end this post.
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