Orne Harbor, Dallmann Bay

Dec 15, 2017 - National Geographic Explorer

Our last full day of this expedition was spent surrounded in the ethereal beauty of the snow-covered mountains and glaciers of the Antarctic Peninsula. In the morning, some chose to hike the steep slopes of Spigot Point to gain a full view of the Gerlache Strait and Errera Channel from on high. Others chose to cruise amongst the ice in our fleet of Zodiacs looking for wildlife and wild scenery. It was our final chance to drink in all the wildness around us.

Our afternoon was spent in the presence of humpback whales as they played out their feeding strategies right before our eyes (and cameras!) Time after time a pair or a trio of humpbacks would create a net to concentrate krill by exhaling small bubbles underwater from their blowholes around the mass of krill, to then lunge through the concentrated prey with mouths agape in order to fill them to the brim! Cameras clicked and whirred and we all cheered as these seemingly insatiable whales filled their mouths and throats to the point of bursting!

The hotel department surprised us all with a special sausage and beer teatime on the sun deck in the late afternoon. On the way to our small protected bay to have our special treat, we sighted a rather odd object floating in the sea. A Zodiac was quickly launched and Expedition Leader Lucho Verdesoto and AB Seaman Randy Francisco picked up what looked like a huge tire floating on the sea. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a Styrofoam bumper covered in rubber. At least now it’s one less piece of trash in the sea! 

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About the Author

Michael Nolan

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Michael Nolan was born in Bitburg, Germany to an Air Force family stationed there. His first experience of the ocean came at age 12, when he learned to snorkel in the Italian Mediterranean. At age 17 he moved to Tucson, Arizona and became a PADI SCUBA instructor, before starting a SCUBA diving business that specialized in diving trips to the Sea of Cortez.

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