Our first activity today was a transit of Lemaire Channel. This is a scenic and narrow channel, about 7 miles long and about 1 mile wide. It is referred to as "Kodak Gap" because of the sheer number of photo taken by tourists going through. It was really quite beautiful - sheer mountains rising up from the shore. The mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula are all relatively young - they're an extension of the Andes mountains. You can follow the curve from the tip of the Andes down to the Antarctic Peninsula. It was easy to tell that the photo ops were good because Chris Ranier, a photographer from National Geographic who accompanied our trip, and his friend Robert Mellman, another professional photographer, were out on deck snapping away.
We then did a landing on Petermann Island, home to large colonies of Adele and Gentoo penguins. This island is also the site of a long-term monitoring station for Oceanites, a nonprofit scientific research organization. Two Oceanites researchers accompanied our trip as part of a cooperation program with Lindblad. Eric Woehler, a professor from Tazmania, and Louise Blight, a researcher from British Columbia, were along for the whole trip, helping out as guides, but once we reached the Peninsula, they went into work mode, conducting surveys of penguin populations. Emmy and I became rather good friends with both of them, and we learned a lot about penguins, population trends, and how research is done in the Antarctic. Oceanites has a web site at www.oceanites.org
Our final activity of the day was a Zodiac cruise through icebergs. The weather was brilliantly clear and warm (45+ degrees) and the waters were calm. We cruised with Pete Puleston, one of our Zodiac drivers and a really interesting man, through ice flows sized from 1 feet tall to 50 feet tall and hundreds of feet long. We also had the opportunity to see a leopard seal and a number of crabeater seals.