Friday, March 18, 2011


10 March 2011

It was an earlier start today as our first excursion started after 8.00am to a peninsula on the Antarctic continent. Music is played throughout the ship as a wake up call with a morning greeting to the 'Articans' from the top guide. It was raining in the morning, then it changed to snow. We thought the weather was bad. The crew said as it was not windy it was a very good weather day.

I really feel we are in the last real wilderness in the world. Everything is white - snow, ice. Blue reflections on some ice provides a sense of lots of colour. Fur seals are in several small colonies on the island.

The boat has stopped in Gerlache Strait. Icebergs are floating all around us.

The weather is overcast and it is 0C. It began to drizzle so on top of our parkas we put on our rain gear. We looked a sight. As we started to assemble it started to snow. We’ve got the drill of getting ready down pat. It was very slippery getting out of the zodaics onto wet rocks. A few steps over the rocks and we were in snow. Male fur seals romped around the rocks. I saw several swimming but I couldn’t take a photo whilst in the zodiac.

Today we are actually on the Antarctic Continent itself – the cold,white, pristine continent. It feels so sureal that we are actually here. It is very quiet. A few petrels flew overhead.

We strolled around drinking in the sights.

After lunch we had a long break before we went on a cruise along Foyn Harbour. We have been divided into two groups; the Penguins and the Seals. All our party is part of the seals group.

It was still snowing when we went cruising along the shoreline. Arctic and Antarctic terns flew around us. We saw a bit of history as we passed the wooden whaling boats abondened here by the Norwegians.

There was the wreck of a Norwegian whale factory ship Governoren.

The Captain grounded the ship into the island whilst it was on fire to save the crew in 1915. A pity it was so wet and cold. My fingers were very painful by the end of the 90 minute cruise in zodiacs. But it was worth it!

Ice flows were abundant and you could see the start of the formation of the sea ice.

After a debrief we relaxed in the lounge for a while reflecting on the day.

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