Feb 03, 2019 - National Geographic Explorer
The last day of this incredible voyage surpassed all the others! We thought that perhaps it was impossible to top our days of good weather, abundant wildlife (both in quantity and number of different species), and exquisite ice formations, but the post-lunch whale feeding frenzy just off our bow might be everyone’s top moment.
Before we got there, though, we had a packed morning. We saw gentoo penguins, Antarctic shag chicks, and whale bones at Jougla Point and then had a bit of history and retail therapy. Port Lockroy not only houses a great gift shop in Bransfield House, the former site of British Base A, but also offers an excellent museum and the opportunity to mail postcards home. The mail might take a while and follow a rather long path to get to its destination, but it certainly arrives. Post is carried by expedition ships such as ours, heading to the Falkland Islands. Mail then enters the British Royal Mail system, travels to London, and is distributed from there. Quite a journey for a simple postcard!
Our post-lunch siestas were interrupted by our expedition leader inviting us to go outside to view several humpback whales engaged in spirited feeding behavior. These whales were lunge-feeding, bubblenetting, pectoral fin slapping and synchronized swimming right off the bow of the ship. All of us were able to see inside the gaping maws of these incredible creatures as they expanded their ventral grooves or pleats in order to gulp huge volumes of seawater. Two whales lunged to the side in unison, over and over, as if to perfect a swimming routine.
The excitement wasn’t over after we left this display. As we entered Paradise Harbour, the site for our afternoon Zodiac cruise, we spotted more lunge-feeding humpbacks. Some groups were able to see the whales from the small, inflatable boats and others enjoyed last views of Antarctic seals, including a leopard seal and several crabeater seals.
To wrap up an overwhelmingly positive day, our IT officer, Michael, was able to livestream the Super Bowl to the lounge and even to cabin TVs as we began to make our way north toward the Drake Passage.
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