Matt & Emmy in Antarctica & Easter Island travel blog

Killer Whales race the ship

Our first iceberg

Today we spent continuing our sail towards South Georgia Island. In the late afternoon, we passed two outlying islands called the Shagg Rocks, which stuck out of the ocean like two pillars welcoming us to South Georgia.

During the day, there were a series of lectures on South Georgia and the history of Earnest Shackleton, who set out from here (and returned to here) for his legendary expedition. The weather had also turned notably colder, since we had crossed the Antarctic convergence. Temperatures now were in the 40s. Also we spent a good chunk of the day sailing in a heavy mist or fog, again and indication that we were passing the convergence. The fog is caused by the hot and cold bodies of water interacting.

The most exciting parts of the day were announcements over the PA system. The first came during the Shackleton lecture, announcing that a pod of killer whales had been spotted near the ship. Almost everyone on board - passengers, staff and even much of the ship's crew - raced out on deck to watch them. There were about 20-30 whales of various sizes and genders riding the wake of the ship, the bow wave, and swimming along side it. One of the naturalists on board (who studies whales as part of his research) told me that he had never seen such a large quantity of whales swimming together, nor had he ever seen whales playing with a ship for so long. It was quite amazing to see.

The second announcement came a few hours later - we would soon be seeing our first iceberg (detected by the ship's radar). Again, most of the passengers came out to see it - it was quite impressive.

Tomorrow morning we will awake anchored off King Haakon Bay, at the northwest corner of South Georgia.

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