Friday, January 30
Couverville Island and Neko Harbor
On Friday morning, we cruised down the Gerlache Strait and made our way into the Errera Channel to Cuverville Island (a deviation from our planned stop at Danco Island) for a viewing of more Gentoo penguins. During lunch we passed another cruise ship, which turned out to be Le Boreal, the one we sailed last August in the Arctic.
The afternoon excursion was to Neko Harbor on the Andvord Bay, our first proper landing on the actual mainland of Antarctica. A Weddell seal calmly welcomed us at the landing beach. We walked along the Gentoo colony and got to a nice vantage point where we could see some glaciers across the bay and watch as some of our shipmates tobogganed down a slope. Sam, our maitre’d, was the first one down the chute. Barry and I heard some booms from the glacier and saw a small cascade of ice, and later, just as we were packing up to go, a big one let loose.
We took a late afternoon zodiac ride and saw several leopard seals and lovely icebergs. Making our way back to the ship, we rounded a corner and found Sam under an umbrella in a zodiac full of hot chocolate and Baileys to warm us up.