ANTARCTICA PART 2 DAY 11
15/12/14By the time it got to 00.30 this morning after sorting a few things out and having a beer, I decided there was no point going to bed for 2 hours and then getting up for a sunrise, so stayed up and had another drink with some students from Iowa University and some Spanish crew who spoke very little English. It was hilarious trying to communicate and passed the time until I gave up and went to bed at 2.45am.
After a few hours sleep we had arrived in the Antarctic Sound, heading north. This was where we had attempted to land on day 1 but were defeated by the sea ice. This time we had some luck as there was a landing place. David and I didn’t need it initially as we stayed in the zodiac to try to photograph the penguins diving into the water. I say try as it was very difficult, in a moving boat, hand holding a large lens and at a distance. David had more luck and as he was not feeling too good headed back to the ship while I went on land.
It was good to see and photograph Adelie penguins for the first time, and I was also fortunate to see and photograph a Macaroni Penguin (named after the song “He put a feather in his hat and called it macaroni”). These penguins are not normally found in Antarctica, so this was a bit special. I had taken a series of photographs and had moved on when I was aware that Agustin was calling me. I thought that perhaps I had wandered out of bounds but he was accompanied by about 20 other people all trying to tell me the Macaroni was behind me. I replied by saying I had already photographed it and they were all amused by the fact that after spending quite a while trying to attract my attention it was all in vain and I was not interested.
Once again we also saw a Skua attack a nest and the egg roll away. I also saw two Adelie penguins mating.
After nearly 3 very quick hours we returned to the ship for lunch and then headed towards Paulet Island. This involves heading into the Weddell Sea, but proved impossible due to the huge expanse of dense sea ice. Again I cannot really describe it - miles and miles and miles of sheets of thick sea ice, pushed up by its own weight like 6 metre icing on a cake, making the sea an impossibility. We have been cruising around for a while and seen a distant Crabeater Seal - a first for me.
I think it is unlikely that we will be landing again today and so it is time to head back into Bransfield Strait (mini Drake) and head to the South Shetland Islands for our last day of landings tomorrow.
PS Just announced - dinner at 7pm and then posible second landing at Brown Bluff, on the Antarctic Continent.