Nov 30, 2018 - National Geographic Explorer
We’ve arrived! The seas have been wonderfully calm for us, and today we got to set foot on Antarctic islands. Around breakfast time, we found a gorgeous iceberg that looked like it had two chimneys. Guests streamed out on deck to witness the first big iceberg and immortalize it in photographs.
The morning passed with conference talks, a presentation on art by our National Geographic Explorer Jennifer Kingsley, and a primer on ice sheets and sea level rise by Global Perspective Guest Speaker Bob Bindschadler. Bob’s presentation included a live demonstration with several volunteers playing the wind, water, the continental shelf, and Antarctic ice shelves.
Our morning was punctuated by several wildlife sightings, beginning with our morning bird list. We saw several hundred chinstrap penguins porpoising into the distance. Then a group of several humpback whales gave us our voyage’s first cetacean experience.
After lunch, we executed our first Zodiac operations—always an adventure as each person experiments with layers, mittens, backpacks, cameras, ocean spray, and the ubiquitous lifejacket.
Our first landing was at Half Moon Island, which gave us the opportunity to hike up a small peak (very windy!) and to see our first penguin colony. A group of chinstraps lives there, and we saw them tending to their eggs, hiking, and tobogganing down the slopes.
Tonight, we cruise toward the Weddell Sea to see what awaits on the east side of the peninsula.
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