Dec 22, 2017 - National Geographic Orion
Our first full day on the Antarctic Peninsula today was had so much to offer, it almost felt like two days in one. This morning we sailed through a very picturesque Neumayer with blue skies back dropping steep mountains and hanging glaciers. On our way to our first destination, we were visited by a pod of minke whales. We watched them for a short while before moving on to Port Lockroy, which used to be an anchorage for whalers that was later used as a monitoring base by the British during WWII. Now the museum has the most visited gift shop on the Antarctic Peninsula, and also houses the only registered post office. With the ship parked in the fast ice, we were able to visit the museum and explore the bay, which had plenty of Gentoo penguins nesting and crabeater seals sunning themselves on the ice.
During lunch our experienced bridge team navigated the ship through the narrow Peltier channel while the steep mountains of Wiencke Island towered above us. In the afternoon, we were afforded the rare opportunity to visit Palmer Station, which is one of three stations operated by the United States Antarctic Program. We were given a tour of the station facilities and enjoyed some freshly baked brownies before we headed back to the ship. Once back on board, we recapped the day and look forward to a true day of exploration tomorrow.
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