Jan 29, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer
This morning, our second day at sea, we didn’t know that we were in for an amazing day full of fantastic sightings and adventures. We left behind a rather calm Drake Passage—Drake lake—and arrived at the South Shetland Islands, preparing to make the first landing of our expedition at Half Moon Island. We were briefed on the decontamination procedure for approaching A57a, a huge tabular iceberg: cleaning backpacks, camera bags, boots, and walking sticks.
But the procedure was paused when humpback and killer whales were spotted in front of A57a.
After watching the whales, we headed back to Half Moon Island, but the weather conditions had deteriorated significantly and a landing wasn’t possible. But of course, the team came up with an excellent plan B: False Bay, named for its similarity to the nearby South Bay, for which it is easily mistaken.
We really went into expedition mode—even our captain hadn’t been to False Bay before. After we maneuvered safely into the bay, we went out for Zodiac cruises—and were surprised yet again. With beautiful glaciers surrounding us, we spotted about 20 leopard seals resting on sheets of floating ice! Some of the leopard seals looked as if they’d just hunted penguins, and they were accompanied by skuas looking for leftovers.
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