Dec 15, 2019 - National Geographic Orion
Our morning began at the starkly beautiful Astrolab Island: an amazing assemblage of life, ice and geology. The beautiful bay we found ourselves in was lined by the dragon-tooth-like row of imposing craggy mountains, which tailed down into incredible crystal-clear sea. The rocks were home to many nesting southern fulmars, which wheeled great circles in the sky, joined by cape petrels and the odd Wilson’s storm petrel. The bright blue sea below would occasionally froth with porpoising penguins of all brushtail varieties, before hoping onto various ice floes and rocky skerries.
We spent the morning cruising by Zodiac along this fabulous landscape – we gawped at the beautiful icebergs sheltering bay and sat in wait for penguins to head around our boats as they preened their feathers and pushing air up between them.
After lunch our expedition diver Maya Santangelo gave a fantastic talk on the lives, physiology, and magical sounds of the seals of the southern ocean. We learned all about their amazing feats of diving and the lengths these incredible carnivores go to find and impress a mate.
As we travelled to our next destination and Maya spoke, a few whales came and graced us with their presence, a couple were busy sleeping and as they sighed and breathed, they lulled and floated about in the beautiful sunshine. One head-butted an iceberg. Our destination was Lindblad Cove, where we cruised by ship, watching the ice over champagne. After that came dinner, and then the after-dinner screening of Chasing Shakleton – a lovely relaxing Antarctic day.
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