Yalour Islands and Vernadsky Base

Jan 01, 2018 - National Geographic Orion

Today was the first day of 2018 and the first day of our true exploration of the beautiful Antarctic continent. The morning began after breakfast with a scenic hiking tour of the main island of the Yalour chain, on the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula. Crowds of Adelie penguins adorned the rocks as they squabbled with each other about territory, trespassing skuas, and some other perceived insults even the naturalists were not privy to (it’s doubtful the birds themselves even knew). The second part of touring Yalour was by small boat. Dodging amongst the icebergs and we were witness to a floating garden of ice sculptures. During lunch we repositioned just outside of Vernadsky base, a Ukrainian research base where we were given a private tour and tasting of some of their homemade spirits. An amazing first day in Antarctica, and 2018!

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About the Author

James Hyde


James is a home-grown, free-range Pacific Northwest outdoorsmen. Born in Seattle and reared nearby on Vashon Island, he grew up in and surrounded by the Salish Sea. James has saltwater in his veins, but would be quick to point out we all do, echoing Carl Safina " We are, in a sense, soft vessels of seawater." Born with the travel bug, James was fortunate enough to spend time on four continents before graduating college. During his studies at Western Washington University's Huxley College of the Environment, James went to Australia and visited the Great Barrier Reef. He was never the same. A lifetime of playing in the productive, but opaque green water of the Northwest had offered him little firsthand experience of the creatures below its depths, but with a clear view of the colorful dramas playing out across the bottom of the tropical Pacific, he was hooked. Scuba diving and underwater ecology were solidified as his passion and after college, it took him to a dive shop in Seattle fixing gear, tidepooling with local middle school students, and generally making a spectacle of himself in the surf.

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