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British Antarctica

In Search of the Penguins - Lemaire Channel & Port Lockroy

sunny 5 °C
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After a quieter night on ship, this morning we were rejoined by last night's campers, before it was time to get up for breakfast.

As we hadn't sailed overnight, this morning meant we would be travelling to a new place. However this was far from boring as we were making our way to the southernmost point on the trip - the Lemaire Channel.

Lemaire Channel

Lemaire Channel

Sailing down the channel we were prepared for ice to block the route at any time causing us to have to turn around. Luckily this didn't happen until the very end where a huge block of ice did indeed mean the way through was impossible.

One of the many icebergs in the Lemaire Channel

One of the many icebergs in the Lemaire Channel

With such beautiful views of the surrounding icebergs and snow filled mountains, we were treated to a hot chocolate by the crew, and after turning back around and heading north again, we then headed for Port Lockroy, a British base that we had watched a documentary on the previous night.

Port Lockroy

Port Lockroy

Arriving just after lunch, half the group was to visit Port Lockroy whilst the others would visit nearby Jougla Point, before we all swapped halfway through.

At Port Lockroy

At Port Lockroy

Arriving on shore to find habitation once again was a rather strange experience. At Port Lockroy not only was there a museum about the life on British Bases, but there was also a little shop for us to buy souvenirs. Yes, even in Antarctica you can buy tat!

Souvenir Shop

Souvenir Shop


Posting my postcards

Posting my postcards

Although somewhat overpriced, I bought a few bits, including a postcard to send to wish my future self a happy birthday in a few weeks time. After taking a look around the base I then headed back to take the boat transfer over the Jougla Point where once again we were treated to penguin colonies and other birds surrounded by stunning views of ice and mountains.

Beautiful Scenery

Beautiful Scenery


Returning from Jougla

Returning from Jougla

Back on ship we had yet another birthday to celebrate, and tonight we were also joined by the staff at Port Lockroy for dinner.

As our next port of call tomorrow was literally around the corner from today's location, we anchored down to enjoy a beautiful sunset over the scenic mountains. I had originally planned to finally visit the sauna tonight, however as the views were so beautiful I postponed this for a future evening, only taking a brief visit whilst fully clothed to warm myself up after spending so much time outside in the cold.

One of the hilarious bonuses of this boat was the toilet next to the lounge, which had a huge window with views of the surrounding scenery. Sitting down on the toilet doing a number two, whilst penguins swim past seals resting on icebergs was really the best view for a poo you could ever imagine.

The Loo View

The Loo View


Sunset at Port Lockroy

Sunset at Port Lockroy

After an exciting and busy day, once again my camera battery was dead, and so after taking as many pictures of the beautiful sunset as I could, I finally headed to bed.

Sunset at Port Lockroy

Sunset at Port Lockroy

Despite it being past midnight, due to the southerly location and the albedo from the snow it never really got fully dark, an interesting experience to witness!

Polar Nights

Polar Nights

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Antarctica Tagged mountains sunset scenery tourism penguins colony icebergs penguinhunt antarcticcruise polarnight Comments (0)

Touring the Colonies

RTW - Caribbean

sunny 25 °C
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Eventually arriving in St. Maarten I wondered - would this really be worth it? Should I have just flown straight to New York and be done with this palava of getting there? After all, I had just taken an 5 hour overnight flight from San Francisco on a boring old plane, waited in a mostly closed Miami Airport without WiFi for another 5 hours, and then boarded another fairly old boring plane for 3 hours to an island that from the face of it seemed much like Fiji - bad infrastructure and potential for hassling, and this was also hurricane season! - but boy was I wrong, this island was amazing!!!

View from the Apartment

View from the Apartment

The apartment I was staying it wasn't that cheap, but then it came with a kitchen, free WiFi, a huge double bed, air-con, satellite TV, beach front access, great location and best of all - free international calls! Just a 20 second walk from where I was staying was the most beautiful beach you can imagine - even on a miserable day (of which there was very few, as shown by the landlady's comment on one, that it was warmer inside her house than out, something she was not used to!) the sea was still turquoise! There was a supermarket about 5 minutes away with a range of products, an efficient and cheap (mini)bus service that ran almost constantly, and above all else, friendly un-hassling locals!

Maho Beach

Maho Beach

The island was also far more entertaining than I had imagined - being there for 10 days I thought I would be utterly bored out of my skin, but actually, I could have stayed another couple of days! Three times I took a half hour walk along to beach to Maho Bay, where at the end of the runway, planes (including huge Jumbo Jets from Europe) land just 20 metres or so above spectators' heads - a thrilling experience after you get used to the fact they aren't actually going to hit you, as much as how it looks. There was even a bar at the end of the beach for spectators to make themselves as comfortable as they wanted...relaxing in on a beach chair, swimming or simply standing by the fence.

Phillipsburg

Phillipsburg

Another day, I also took the trip over to the capital of this Dutch colony, Philipsburg, to do some serious souvenir shopping, and found the beaches on that side of the territory island were as equally beautiful.

Dutch-French Border

Dutch-French Border

I also spent a longer day taking a colonial trip over the border into the French side (after all this was one of the worlds smallest divided islands), stopping at the Dutch-French border (Belgium of the future?) before taking the ferry over to Anguilla - a British colony.

The French side of the island, classed as an integral part of France itself, and therefore part of the Eurozone and the EU, was completely different to the Dutch, feeling much more colonial, and using different languages, currency and even electrical sockets - to call one side to the other is an international call, despite a completely open border.

View over Marigot, Saint-Martin

View over Marigot, Saint-Martin

I spent a few hours walking around, as well as walking up the hill to the fort, where there was a beautiful view of the western side of the island, as well as Anguilla over the channel.

Tsunami Warning Sign

Tsunami Warning Sign

Anguilla, unlike St. Martin was completely flat, with the entrance to Passport Control containing a Tsunami warning sign!

Above all else, this island will remain in my memory as one of the most beautiful places I'd ever been....turquoise seas all around, and I would not only recommend it, but I would also happily go back myself.

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Sint Maarten Tagged hills boat beach airport island sand plane border rtw colony Comments (0)

"Can I take a picture with you?"

RTW - Macau

all seasons in one day 27 °C
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On my first full day the weather in Hong Kong was torrential...getting absolutely drenched after a few minutes, despite all my waterproofs on, but this didn't matter so much as I walked a short distance to the ferry terminal, where I would take a ferry over to the Portuguese version of Hong Kong - Macau.

The territory was handed back over to China in 1999 and unlike Hong Kong is very very small (around half the size of San Marino, compared to HK's half the size of Luxembourg), and actually makes more money in gambling than Las Vegas.

Senado Square

Senado Square

Luckily the weather in Macau was much nicer, although it did make the first half of the hour long ferry journey pretty bumpy. I then spent about 5 hours walking around the territory, starting with the newer developed areas where some of the casinos are, before walking around some of the more Chinese areas and seeing Senado Square.

Ruins of St. Paul's

Ruins of St. Paul's

I then finished my tour of the city with it's landmark - the ruins of St. Paul's - a former cathedral that was mostly destroyed by a fire after a typhoon in 1835, with only the front fa├žade remaining. It was here that the bizarre moment of my trip occurred, when after being asked by a group of what looked like Chinese to take a group photo for them, I was asked if they could take a photo with me...

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Macau Tagged history tourists rtw colony Comments (0)

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