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Entries about penguins

Polar Plunge Madness

In Search of the Penguins - Deception Island & Hannah Point

sunny 3 °C
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Today was the final day in Antarctica. After a wake up call and breakfast, we entered the caldera of Deception Island, anchored up and landed ashore.

Deception Island

Deception Island

Being geothermal, the island was almost barren of wildlife. Being much more rocky and with almost no snow compared to our previous landing sights. Nevertheless there were many points to view over the caldera, and after a short walk we arrived back at the beach for the Polar Plunge.

Polar Plunge

Polar Plunge

I certainly was not going to take part in this, but half the group did - stripping down into swimwear or nudity and then racing into the sea. The geothermal heat warms this part of the sea from around -1 to 1C, and this chilly temperature was clearly visible on many of people's faces.

After that experience, we then headed back to the ship for lunch, whilst the ship left the caldera and headed towards Hannah Point on Livingstone Island in the South Shetlands. This would be our last landing point, and we weren't to be disappointed! After enjoying perfect weather for the last few days, we landed to find huge penguin colonies covering the entire area.

Penguins

Penguins

Upon arrival, the G Adventures flags caused complete bewilderment amongst the penguins, and then with all the tourists landing on shore they simply didn't know what to do. After a little walk around the area, I sat down and attempted to get a penguin selfie. With curious penguins coming over to see what I was or simply running past ignoring my presence.

Penguin Selfie

Penguin Selfie

At one point a group of chasing penguins literally ran into some people's legs, falling over and then trying to work out what to do next! What an experience!

Penguins

Penguins

After a few hours soaking up the last of these unforgettable landing experiences I headed back to ship for the day's review and then dinner. As tonight was the last evening in Antarctica, we celebrated by having a fancy dress contest. However as I turned up too late to get a costume I didn't join in. Nevertheless the turnout was pretty high - including our Aussie friends as The Jackson Five (Minus 3), Cameron in drag and funniest of all - Gary, the stripper penguin.

Evening Entertainment

Evening Entertainment

After a really enjoyable evening I then headed up to the bar with the group for drinks with the crew band, before finally calling it a night.

What a great way to end the Antarctic adventure. And yet there were still two whole days on the ship to come!

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Antarctica Tagged beach party swim penguins drunk penguinhunt antarcticcruise Comments (0)

Another Day In Paradise

In Search of the Penguins - Damoy Point & Paradise Harbour

sunny 5 °C
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After yesterday's visit to the British Base of Port Lockroy, this morning we took the short trip around the corner to Damoy Point to have a look at the British and Argentinian evacuation huts.

Argentinian Hut

Argentinian Hut

Taking a look inside where one would hide out in the event of bad weather, I then took a stroll around the snow for beautiful scenic views as well as of the local wildlife.

Inside the hut

Inside the hut


On the Ice

On the Ice

Most of the penguins we had seen so far already had large chicks. However at Damoy Point there was one small chick and an unborn sibling. Cute, but unfortunately we knew that this meant the chicks would be too weak to survive the coming winter. Nature can be so cruel sometimes.

Penguin chick

Penguin chick


Neumayer Channel

Neumayer Channel

After reboarding the ship, we sailed through the picturesque Neumayer Channel where we were surrounded by beautiful mountains and icebergs.

Ice in the Neumayer Channel

Ice in the Neumayer Channel

After lunch we got back off the ship to visit Paradise Harbour. Beginning with a cruise around the area, we then landed at the Argentinian Base Brown, to walk up the steep snow covered hill for a beautiful view over the entire bay.

Base Brown

Base Brown

Having a chat about studying in Bremen with the German glacial tour expert, I took in the beautiful views, before sliding back down the hill and making the way back to the ship.

Over Paradise Harbour

Over Paradise Harbour

Once again nabbing the best table at dinner, we were interrupted by sightings of Orcas. This meant a lot of people in the restaurant left the room to head outside, leaving the waiters unsure of whether to pause dinner or keep serving.

Orcas

Orcas

I then finished off the evening by doing what I had attempted all week - finally managing to sneak in a visit to the sauna!

Another great day in paradise, with just one full day of Antarctic adventure left before heading back to reality.

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Antarctica Tagged mountain ice penguins orcas penguinhunt antarcticcruise Comments (0)

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)

Antarctica, We Have Arrived

In Search of the Penguins - Cuverville Island & Neko Harbour

semi-overcast 5 °C
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After yesterday's unexpected additional stop, today we finally made it to the Antarctic Peninsula.

First views of the Antarctic Peninsula

First views of the Antarctic Peninsula

With a wake up call this morning telling us about our location and the weather report, I enjoyed the buffet breakfast before heading on deck for views of the snow filled mountains in the distance. It was then not long before we were called to the mudroom for our next trip offshore to Cuverville Island, an island full of Gentoo penguins.

Icebergs

Icebergs

I had signed up to begin this trip with a zodiac cruise, and so waiting until the end, I boarded one of the boats for a sail around the island for views of the icebergs and mountains.

Penguins on Cuverville

Penguins on Cuverville

En route we saw some seals and lots of penguins before landing at the beach and getting to walk around the Penguin colony itself. After sitting down whilst penguins ran past chasing each other less than a metre away, it was then time to head back to the ship for lunch.

Everyone out on deck

Everyone out on deck

Sailing down past Rongé Island, we got views of whales. And it wasn't long before we made it to Neko Harbour for our afternoon trip, arriving at a ice filled shore, again filled with many Gentoo penguins.

Heading back to the ship, we heard that there was a whale sighting, and so taking a detour we headed in the Zodiacs over towards where they were, getting to see the bodies and fins of these magnificent creatures just metres away at eye level.

Whales

Whales

Having been anchored since lunchtime, throughout the course of the afternoon an iceberg had now struck the ship. Not causing any damage but still a slightly worrying incident....

Iceberg

Iceberg

Tonight there was a plan for a BBQ dinner on deck but as the weather had begun to turn this was quickly moved back inside. Arriving shortly at Leith Island, those who had paid were going camping tonight out on the ice. Thankfully I was staying on deck in the warm and as the group set up for the night we watched from the deck.

Camping

Camping

Finding time to have a quick go in the gym whilst looking at the beautiful scenery outside, we then watched a film on Port Lockroy, where we would be visiting the following day.

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Antarctica Tagged mountains whales ice penguins icebergs penguinhunt antarcticcruise Comments (0)

Finally Meeting the Penguins

In Search of the Penguins

all seasons in one day 5 °C
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After a pretty rough crossing yesterday, today we finally made it to the 7th continent - Antarctica.

Waking, the difference in the water was already clear, a little bit of bobbing still, but nothing compared to the the previous day. After breakfast I went for a wander, visiting the bridge, which on this ship had an open door policy, before attending the mandatory briefing on rules in the continent.

Bridge

Bridge

After collecting boots and having items vacuumed for biosecurity, we began to see our first icebergs in the distance, as well as birds and whales. It wasn't long then before lunch and a talk on penguins followed.

Penguin Island

Penguin Island

Having raced out of Ushuaia to avoid the storm, we were ahead of schedule and therefore able to enjoy our first landing already! This would be at Penguin Island in the South Shetland Islands - an active volcano that although snow free had a wide range of wildlife.

Ready to go!

Ready to go!

The process for getting out on land wasn't quick. Being called in groups we arrived in the mudroom already in thermals and our parka coats, put our boots and lifejackets on and then swiped out before walking down the steps to get on a Zodiac dinghy to sail to shore.

Boarding the Zodiacs

Boarding the Zodiacs


Seals

Seals

Once at the beach we got off and walked around past Seals and Chinstrap Penguins and up to the hill for a hike to the top. Although around 5˚C outside, in the thick clothes hiking up quickly became hot and sweaty. The brief snowfall was therefore a welcome relief to cool us down before it cleared up for views around the area.

Chinstraps

Chinstraps

Walking back down to spend a bit of time with the penguins before heading back to ship was a welcome treat and gave us a taste of what to expect in the next five days.

Back at the ship I left my dirty and wet items in the mudroom before heading back to the room to change out of my thermals where I found an envelope with my name on it. Opening it up I found a letter from Jim & Christine, with whom I had travelled with in Central Asia in the autumn. Coincidentally they were travelling on the tour immediately before mine and so had left me a little note for me on board - a really beautiful gesture!

As we had now reached Antarctica, we had a welcome drink in the lounge to celebrate with the captain before dinner. This was followed by an evening documentary as we sailed through the Bransfield Strait at sunset en route to the mainland of Antarctica itself tomorrow.

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Antarctica Tagged boat mountain penguins seals penguinhunt antarcticcruise Comments (0)

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