|This is the beginning of our last day in the Antarctic. Skies continue to be overcast with an occasional break revealing blue skies and sunshine. The water is relatively calm and not an iceberg in sight. The snow clad mountains across the way are trying to shine through the low lying clouds. Deb spots what appears to be debris floating on the water like small sticks and leaves. It turns out to be a group of penguins swimming by the ship. They are fishing for their breakfast. An occasional head pops up for a gulp of air. Interesting bit of trivia: penguins are only found in the South Pole and polar bears are only found in the North Pole.
We are near Palmer Station (USA) on Anvers Island to pick up National Science Foundation scientists for a presentation. The USA program is studying everything from krill and ice fish (its blood is white because there is no hemoglobin) to deep space (at the South Pole the sky never changes).
Around 10:30, the captain announces a change of plan. Instead of cruising the Wilhelm Archipelago, we are fast tracking our exit. Bad weather is heading for the Drake Passage. The Drake Passage is the body of water that connects the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and is the shortest crossing from Antarctica to South America (although it is still 500 miles wide). The waters of the passage are known to be the roughest in the world.
As we begin leaving, we finally see humpback and killer whales. They were in the distance but Courtney says that one waved to her.