Lidia & Allen Patagonia and Antarctica travel blog

First steps on Antarctic continent

The ship can look kinda small in this land & sea

My feet really hurt

So do mine

Orca not quite far enough away

Cary deep in thought

Iceberg at a distance

Upon closer inspection - The iceman looking out from the prow

Hoping it doesn´t sail away

Another good day at the office

The Drake Passage crossing was filled more with trepidation than actual discomfort. The seas were rolling 10 to 20 foot swells. The prevailing winds, currents, and the ship´s direction resulted in a lulling like the rocking of a cradle. Sea legs came quickly as spent most of day walking the ship and visiting with the bridge crew. And sighting birds from the outside decks. The only missing item were the stars; is was overcast, though the sun shone through from 04:30 till 23:30; e.g., there was only maybe 5 hours of kind-a-dark.

The size of everything in Antarctica is deceivingly large. As there is nothing against which to compare relative size everything looks smaller than it really is. The ¨little¨ birds that you´d think had 12 inch wing spans were actually 4 feet across ! An Albatross flies by and you think boy that´s a big bird with a 4 foot wing span; in reality the wing span is 12 feet !!

Watching the behavior of the penguins was an other worldly experience. They are a comedy, a puzzle, and a tragedy rolled into one. For example a penguin sits on its egg in its nest and fights off a Skua (a bird which eats penguin eggs and/or chicks), while from behind another penguin is stealing rocks from the nest to take away and build its own (the first penguin´s nest consequently constantly shrinking)!!

The penguin highways were also a new aspect of penguins I´d not heard of, or even seen depicted. As they use the same trails repeatedly, as the snow deepens so to becomes the trail/highway. At times the highway so deep that the penguins disappear from sight as they waddle along only to reappear in the distance.

The weather has been very accomodating - no severe storms, nor seas, and so no activities have had to be canceled.

CLOSE-UP sightings of whales from the Zodiacs was a treat that even the crew and staff, who´ve been on countless outings, stated were unique in their experience. One whale actually had to avoid brushing against a Zodiac upon surfacing; evidently their skin is so sensitive that they don´t want to bruise themselves by inadvertent contact with the small boats, even though they are about 100 times larger than the boat !?!?

Ciao for now, will add more, as will Lidia, soon.

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