Jan 19, 2010
|01/09/2010-Sat-final shopping and left the car in the campground and boarded the Ushuaia at 4:00pm
01/10/2010-Sun-Crossed the Drakes Passage and suffered all day with sea sickness and the swell. Although saw some great birds...
01/11/2010-Mon-Crossed over the Antarctic convergence and found smoother waters. Woke feeling better and actually slept a good night. Saw our first Ice berg and had lunch as we went between two islands to anchor and then had a shore trip to a chinstrap penguin colony. What a great day-everyone was feeling better and we even saw some new faces as the day approached lunch.
01/12/2010-Tues-Fist stop at Half moon island just off the coast of Livingston Island. Walked through a chinstrap penguin colony.
01/13/2010-Wed-Palmer Station, ice berg ally, Peterman island southern most point of our trip. First Adelie Penguin colony.
01/14/2010-Thurs-Our first landing on the Continent of Antarctica, Paradise Bay, and then Neko Harbor. Both of these places had penguin colonies, gentoo and
01/15/2010-Fri- Browns bluff on the continent then landed at Esperanza Station
01/16/2010-Sat-Had breakfast just outsid of whaler's bay, Deception Island and went through a narrow passage into the harbor called Neptune's bellows. Visited an old abandoned whaling station and some people took a dip in the Anarctic with the help of volcanic warming. Motored North east to Yankee harbor, another whaling station and penguin colony. After dinner we then set sail for the crossing back to Ushuaia, on the Drakes Passage. This is supposed to take approximately 44 hours.
01/19/2010-Tues-Arrive in Ushuaia and disembark early in the morning.
I am writing this the 16th after a whole week of seeing some of the most wonderful and magnificent scenery and land/ice scapes imaginable. I have spent many hours up on the bridge just watching, for ice bergs, birds, and anything else that comes along. The wildlife this week has just been wonderful. First we encountered the deep see birds of Drakes passage, and a couple of whales. Then as we spotted land and Ice, we began seeing more whales and some porposing penguins. Our first landing was exciting and we saw hundreds of chinstrap penguins, elephant seals, and waddell seals, commorants, skuas, and sheath bills...As the week progressed we made many more landings at different spots along the north/western coast of the antarctic penninsula. More wonderful ice/animals of Antarctica. Extensive looks of humpback whales feeding, and a real closeup of a sleeping lepord seal on some ice, while on one of the ship's zodiac boats. We worked our way south through some spectacular passages,Lamier Channel to Peterman's Island our southern most point.
The Ushuaia then made our way north with our first Anarctic Penninsula landing at Paradice bay, then Necko Harbor. We made our way to the tip of the Anarctic Pennisula for two stops on at Browns point the other at Esperanza Station. While traveling through this passage called the Antarctic Sound, it was choked up with huge Ice bergs the size of a small states or large cities. Unbelievable.. Our captain guided us through with relative ease only crashing through the smallest stuff. The ice that was in the sound was thought to come from the continental shelf out of the Waddell sea.
This ice is also known to carry with it the famed Emperor Penquins. The young sit on a berg until it dissolves in the Antarctic ocean forcing them to swim, months after they had been separated from their parents and set affloat. The parents at this time of the year are molting. This molt requires that they also must hall up on a huge safe berg for safety, and regrow all of their feathers. I spent hours watching these bergs float by trying to see the difference between them and wondered how Emperor Penguins choose the right ones. An early dip in the water for either the young chick or the parents at this time would mean certain death. So they must choose a sturdy and stable berg... I watched for hours as we passed ice bergs with penguins on them hoping to see an Emperor.. I saw some penguins, and they looked huge but wasn't close enough to see some more distinguishing field marks to peg a positive identification.
The Ushuaia motored overnight, south across the Minny Drake, ------- Sound to Deception island. In the harbor of Deception island we landed at whaler's Cove. There was the remains of an old whaling station, buildings, tanks, wearhouses and whale bones. A volcanic eruption damaged much of the old station leaving little of the original buildings standing. The highlight for some was to swim in the water near the shore, which had been heated by thermal activity below. I passed on this experience, it was cold..... This harbor is in the inside of a culdera and the passage is very narrow, and the wind is blowing through it. This passage has claimed a few ships that lay wrecked on the shore. Our last stop to shore was at Yankee harbor, another site for a whaling station. We walked the rocky spit to a huge Gentoo colony. Along the way we saw, elephant seals, crab eater seals, Skuas, a white morph giant petral, and of course bathing and resting Gentoo's on the rocky beach.
After dinner,which was a typical Argentine parilla, with at least 4 kinds of meat, that evening we again set our course for the Drakes crossing, which will take two days. Immediately after we got started we were tossed and turned, reminding us too take our pills so we could get some sleep. This crossing was not as bad as the first, people had gotten their sea legs I suspect. Although, Karla got sick the second day out, felt fine afterwards.
Just a note, an earthquake occurred at 9:00am, the second day of the passage crossing. It was a 6.? on the richter scale.. we never new it...
The final days events encluded the display of the disk that we all received, and presentation of our certificates of crossing the Drakes Passage and landing on the Antarctic Continent. This organization has it togeather. We can't wait to show you all the slide show that they put togeather..
What a wonderful experience.