Nov 24, 2017 - National Geographic Explorer
Our last full day of landings in Antarctica would show us the beauty, the power, and the fury of this incredible place. We began the morning with another continental landing stop at Neko Harbour, named for a whaling ship that used to ply these waters. Once on land we were told to stay away from the shoreline due to occasional waves generated by the calving glacier behind the landing—within a half hour one of the largest calvings ever seen by the natural history staff occurred! A massive calving face produced 10-foot curling waves that washed up the very beach we had just landed on. The power and the fury on display right in front of us! We then made our way to the nearby gentoo penguin colony and above to the overlook to keep an eye on this active ice fall. The weather was beautiful as some of us witnessed the calving from Zodiacs and some from the ship. The gentoos went about their business, that of protecting their nests from their own neighbors. They need their nests to be sturdy to protect the eggs from meltwater. The morning was enjoyed from land or sea in this majestic bay.
During lunch, we repositioned to Paradise Bay, one of the most beautiful bays along a peninsula full of them. The sun was fully shining and there was not a breath of wind as the chief mate pulled the ship right up to the cliff face. From there we headed for the Zodiacs once again to cruise along the impressive ice sculptures in the bay next to an old abandoned Argentine science base that was partially burned down in the 1970s. The light was bright but also magnificent as we plied the waters in the quiet bay enjoying hot chocolate and viewing the wildlife.
Once everyone was back on board, the ship left the bay for our next adventure and final possible landing at Port Lockroy.
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