Argentina and Antarctica 2008/2009:
Day 6 - Antarctica


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Antarctica 2008: [Day 1 - Buenos Aires] [Day 2 - Uruguay] [Day 3 - Ushuaia] [Day 4 - Drake Passage] [Day 5 - South Shetland Islands] [Day 6 - Antarctica] [Day 7 - Antarctic Peninsula] [Day 8 - Antarctic Sound] [Day 9 - Drake Passage] [Day 10 - Cape Horn] [Day 11 - Ushuaia] [Day 12 - Iguaçu] [Day 13 - Iguazú]

Friday, January 2: We started our first full day in Antarctica with a leisurely cruise of Wilhelmina Bay.
The small dark structure to the left in this photo is an old shipwreck.
Here's the mighty Hurtigruten logo on our beautiful boat.
The bay features many interesting icebergs, all of which we will show you now.
Icebergs.
Iceberg with a bird on top.
Iceberg with funky markings showing the different angles at which it has floated in the water.
This was a particularly lovely section of the bay, with several glaciers tumbling into it, ...
... creating icebergs such as this one.
Debbie likes glaciers.
We alternated between the seventh and eighth decks outside and the warmth of the observation lounge on deck seven inside.
Debbie worked diligently on this website for you, faithful reader.
Some icebergs come with their own swimming pools and sundecks.
There were a handful of penguins enjoying this iceberg.
Back indoors, we attended a briefing on our next three landings, hosted by the very groovy German geologist, Steffen.
First, we'd be going to Cuverville Island, which is the tiny island in the center of this map next to the "E" in "CHANNEL," ...
... then we'd visit Port Lockroy, a British historical base, in the evening, ...
... then Almirante Brown, an Argentine base, first thing the next day.
This diagram doesn't include the snow slide we'd be using to get back down the hill at Almirante Brown.
Back to the beautiful Wilhelmina Bay, named for a Dutch monarch.
Here was our second seal sighting -- a leopard seal sunning himself on an iceberg.
More gorgeous scenery, ...
... and more.
A man and his ship.
More lovely scenery and time passing.
We readied ourselves for our landing at Cuverville Island, where we were the third boat group to depart. This is the line for booted, life jacketed passengers waiting for the next boat.
Down the stairs, ...
... with a quick stomp of both boots on this giant sponge submerged in soapy disinfectant, ....
... and into the Polar Cirkel boat.
This was the longest of our very short trips from the boat to shore and it featured lots of cool icebergs. Don't worry -- we'll show them to you when we return.
But first, we had to wait our turn to let the previous boat move out of the way.
Smiling Expedition Leader Anja greeted us at every landing.
What's this? It's Tom and Debbie stepping foot on Antarctica. That's seven continents, baby!
Anja helped a few more folks step foot on Antarctica as well.
Andy briefed us on where to go and what to see.
This landing was the home of gentoo penguins, and several frolicked in the water just feet from our boat and shore.
When frolicking is over, all good penguins have to come ashore.
Penguins! Penguins! Penguins! You can be sure we'll use that caption at least once more in this travelog.
There are marked human paths and penguin-made "highways" that the penguins use to get to and from the sea. Our job as humans is to leave those highways free for guys like this to use.
Sometimes they went for walks on the human trails, too.
Here's a highway reaching up to some of the penguin homes on the hill.
Here are more penguins with cliffside homes.
These gentoos are still incubating their eggs.
Take a cute penguin ...
... and set him on a penguin highway. Instantly cuter.
This male penguin brought his mate a pebble. Clearly he's spent too many nights out eating krill with his pals, because his mate's nest is pretty pathetic compared to the nest in the background.
This was the last set of penguin nests at the right side of the landing area.
Expedition team member Manuel was taking photos of guests in front of the penguins, ...
... so we waited our turn and got this photo of us. Did we mention that we were in Antarctica? Yeah, baby!
Skuas waited patiently nearby for their chance to have some delicious penguin eggs for dinner.
Orchy also loves Antarctica and got his photo taken with his gentoo penguins pals this time.
This view is coming back from the right side of the landing area and looking toward the left side in the distance.
Penguins and the ship.
Penguins on a hill. See all the different penguin highways.
Here's a large hill with lichen and moss growing on it.
This is the fine view from the far left side of the landing site.
Looking back toward the landing beach from the left side of the site.
Here's what remains of a skua's morning penguin egg snack.
Check out these adorable penguin footprints.
Speaking of adorable, this little guy came out of the water after one of the passengers finished a brief swim.
He made his way up to his human friend, now fully dressed and presumably thawing out.
On our Polar Cirkel boat ride back to the ship, we were treated to an iceberg tour.
These things were easily 20 feet tall and fascinating to see up close.
Our nice shipmates from Switzerland took this photo of us.
Another cool iceberg; this one was shaped like a cave.
This is the coolest one of all. It featured two arches that you can see if you look closely.
It's a little easier to see from the other side.
There's our magnificent ship, M/S or M/V Fram, depending on where it was written. Yes, Tom, I did get a picture of the ship.
After our landing, we stopped by the tiny gift shop to do some shopping and discovered that they sell the world's finest lip balm, Lypsyl, from Scandinavia. We love this stuff, but we prefer the Aloha flavor, so we buy it in bulk from a U.S. distributor. We have at least 30 sticks stockpiled. We're very serious about our Lypsyl.
Back up in the observation lounge, Tom took over the photography for a bit and got this shot through the telescope.
We approached the Neumayer Channel.
Tom went a little crazy on the scenery shots.
Looking forward into the channel.
Lovely scenery on the port side of the ship ...
... and on starboard. Debbie uses this trick to remember these: port and left have four letters; starboard and right have more than four letters.
More scenery ...
... and more. The clouds dusting the tops of the peaks were fascinating to us.
More scenery shot from the top deck ...
... while Debbie worked on the website inside.
Still more scenery. Antarctica has endless mountain ranges and they are all stunning. They reminded us in many places of the Grand Tetons.
This hill was home to hundreds of penguins and it was just around the corner from ...
... tiny Port Lockroy, barely visible here on the outcropping under the peak on the left.
While waiting our turn to land, we got this shot of the other side of the channel of an iceberg and the Marco Polo. They appear to be nearly the same size on the horizon near the left center of this photo. We got closer to the Marco Polo the next day.
Welcome to Antarctic Treaty Historic Site No. 61 British Base A, Port Lockroy.
This bird also welcomed us.
Here's a display of old sledges with the main building behind it.
This gentoo penguin mama had two babies keeping warm beneath her. Her nest was on the rocks at the base of the Port Lockroy buildings.
These nests were just a few feet from the ramp leading up to the main building.
Gentoo penguins and people have coexisted here for years. There are penguins everywhere you look.
Here are some of the nests right next to the building.
We toured the museum portion of the base.
Here is the communications room.
Check out these delicious foodstuffs, representing the food offerings of WW II. There were plenty of boxes of blancmange and dried vegetables.
Here's the rest of the kitchen area.
We bought a bunch of souvenirs in the gift shop (not shown) including buffs, pens, a stuffed penguin, and map, and wrote a couple of postcards quickly in this room.
They assured us that the postcards would reach their destinations within six weeks, about the same time that our credit card charge would appear on our statement. The charge took two weeks, but the postcards took six.
Here's the official mailbox! The good folks of Port Lockroy also stamped our passports for us.
Here are some of the living quarters of the four people who live on the base full time.
We took a stroll out to see the penguins and scenery.
It was still sunny at 9:20 PM.
The penguins here were unconcerned by our visit.
Penguins and the Union Jack. God save the Queen!
Back at the four nests on the large rock, it was feeding time.
While the gentoos on Cuverville Island were all still incubating their eggs, all of the babies here had hatched and were growing quickly. Gaze on this adorable baby penguin and feel your heart melt.
It was Laura's birthday, one of the women who lives at the base, so the ship's crew brought in a birthday cake for her.
This penguin picked down from his feathers, presumably to help feather his mate's nest.
Back to the historic sledges at the entrance, ...
... and one look back, and we were off.
Back on the ship, the Hurtigruten staff did their best to make sure there was something going on constantly. There is no onboard entertainment, but there was always a lecture or special event happening.

The posted signs alerted us to a late-night snack of the chef's fish cakes and hot dogs on deck 7, so we had a quick bite before calling it a night.

Day 7 >


Antarctica 2008: [Day 1 - Buenos Aires] [Day 2 - Uruguay] [Day 3 - Ushuaia] [Day 4 - Drake Passage] [Day 5 - South Shetland Islands] [Day 6 - Antarctica] [Day 7 - Antarctic Peninsula] [Day 8 - Antarctic Sound] [Day 9 - Drake Passage] [Day 10 - Cape Horn] [Day 11 - Ushuaia] [Day 12 - Iguaçu] [Day 13 - Iguazú]

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