65 Degrees South
Feb 2, 2007
|From the Princess Patter: "Throughout the night we continued down the Bransfield Strait which runs down the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. The Strait separates the Palmer Archipelago from the Danco coast and is around 2.5 miles wide at its narrowest. We will continue right down, into the Gerlache Strait which will mark the most southerly point of our passage at 65° south. From there we will start to head back north again, up the Neumayer Channel towards Intercurrence Island."
This was an amazing area! There were rocky, snow covered mountains on both sides with many, many glaciers. Although, there were low clouds they were somewhat broken so we had some good light and at times even some sunshine, not at all like yesterday. The air was clear and there was little wind so it was a wonderful day for viewing and taking pictures. This land is severe, stark, and forbidding, yet it is magnificent beyond belief!
During the night the Captain had kicked up the speed to avoid a storm that was packing 70 knot winds. This got us into the area much earlier than expected. I just happened to wake up early and went on deck to find we had already arrived and were surrounded by stark beauty. At 0630, even though sunrise had occurred a little after 0400, the sun stayed low enough at this latitude to give some nice light both when I first went out as well as at times later.
We again saw a good deal of wildlife throughout the day starting with penguins on ice bergs. Although I did not see all of them our on board naturalists pointed out 2 or 3 different kinds of penguins, 2or 3 kinds of whales, seals, and different birds.
After loitering awhile at the 65 degree point we carefully made our way into the Neumayer Channel. This was quite narrow, but also quite deep. The captain and crew skillfully maneuvered this massive ship through the very narrow channel very gracefully. This area was even more spectacular.
Completing our circumnavigation of Wiencke Island we were still ahead of schedule so Captain Calabrese took us into Paradise Harbor. This is also a beautiful area of rocks, ice, and snow. After spending some time there we returned to Gerlache Strait and headed northward.
This was surely the highpoint of this cruise. Fantastic!!!
From the Log of the Cruise:
"At sea/Gerlache Strait/Neumayer Channel Friday 2nd February 2007
Throughout the night we headed slowly down the Bransfield Strait, passing Intercurrence Island early in the morning. We entered the Gerlache Strait at 0430 and spent the remainder of the morning cruising down the scenic channel, picking our way through the numerous icebergs. Shortly before 1000 we reached the bottom of the Gerlache Strait and nosed our way into Flanders bay to 65° - the very edge of our operational limits. We then proceeded to round Cape Errera on the southern tip of Weicke Island round into the southern entrance to the Neumayer Cahnnel, passing the small British base of Port Lockroy where Antarctica's only Post Office is located. For the next few hours we enjoyed a beautiful leisurely cruise up the channel, breaking through patches of light Rind Ice on our way. At 1312 we exited the channel to the north of Cape Astrup and, as we had time in hand, we crossed the Gerlache Strait into the Bryde Channel to make our way in as far as Paradise Harbour. The bay is the location of Argentina's Brown base and once at the end, we turned round and headed back out into the Berlache Strait where we set northeasterly courses towards Deception Island."