Brown Bluff & Antarctic Sound

Nov 21, 2017 - National Geographic Explorer


This morning I did not rise with the sun. Not my fault, we have been traveling southward for the last few days and the sun is rising earlier and earlier, so I had shut my portal. Rocking seas or the sound of ice scraping against the hull did not awake me. It is calm and fairly ice-free. No, what woke me up was the voice of Doug, our expedition leader, announcing breakfast, but that did not surprise me, rather it was our location, Brown Bluff, that brought a smile to my face.

I knew that the captain and Doug wanted to come here, but someone else had reserved Brown Bluff for this morning. So, when I went to bed there was a different plan. Then, in the wee hours of the morning, it was discovered that the other ship was nowhere nearby, but we were!

So, this morning we visited Brown Bluff, home to colonies of Adélie and gentoo penguins. Massive, brown cliffs of volcanic origin tower over the beach. Well, there is not a beach right now, it is high tide and above the water there is snow and some ice. Good news for me this morning, as I’m driving a Zodiac and I will not need to ding a prop on a submerged rock, there are plenty of rocks here, but they are deep now.

Brown Bluff is also an “official” continental landing. It is not an island. For many people, it is their seventh continent.  Actually, it could be their eighth continent since current research indicates that New Zealand and New Caledonia are the only above-water parts of the continent of Zealandia… search for that name on the interweb, great fun.

After our morning landing at Brown Bluff we spent the afternoon crashing through ice and admiring the large icebergs in Antarctic Sound, a great finish to this very fine Antarctic day.

It was cold this morning, as it should be, it is Antarctica! Everyone seemed a bit bubbly. It has only been about 200 years since names were given to any part of Antarctica. The United States of America was already a country before anyone had even seen Antarctica!

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About the Author

Dennis Cornejo

Naturalist

Dennis has spent more than half of his life working with Lindblad Expeditions. He first studied biology in the Sonoran Desert. It was his work with the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum that brought him into contact with Sven Lindblad. Dennis was working with sea turtles in Mexico, desert tadpoles in southern Arizona and evaluating various legume trees for arid lands agriculture throughout the Sonoran Desert. Sven asked him if he would be interested in working on a ship as a naturalist in Baja California… a simple ‘yes’ turned out to be perhaps the most important decision he ever made!

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