Berthelot & Booth Islands

Feb 02, 2020 - National Geographic Explorer

Today we traveled to the central-western side of the peninsula. A marvelous experience from the beginning of the day to the very end!

Our excellent speed over the night and ice-free conditions during our navigation allowed us an early morning arrival to a destination that we rarely visit, the Berthelot Islands, and the chance to Zodiac among the most impressive icebergs yet during our trip. The massive white and blue formations were roaming into the bay, almost akin to a graveyard for icebergs. The Zodiacs appeared to be minuscule compared to the size of the ice elevating well over 200 feet above the water.

Our afternoon at Booth Island was rivaling the morning both in beauty and number of icebergs. We disembarked on the island ready to explore the gentoo penguin rookeries as well as to get a bit of exercise climbing the hill to enjoy the 360° view of the area. Gentoos were coming and going around our Zodiacs, swimming in front, then disappearing under the surface, and then reappearing again a minute later somewhere around us. The combination of landing and Zodiacs was perfect, as we could enjoy the company of seals, penguins, and even the occasional presence of a minke whale, which appeared sporadically between some of the Zodiacs. This particular minke whale seemed to be feeding on krill and passed by us a couple of times before continuing its secretive life in the Antarctic waters.

The day ended with crossing the Lemaire Channel, an iconic place in Antarctica. Having great conversation with our guests on the Bridge, we said goodbye to the day…tomorrow new adventures await!

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About the Author

Javier Cotin


Javier 's passion for birds and nature began as a child exploring the Pyrenees mountains with his father. The mystery that surrounds the Lammergeier silhouette triggered his curiosity and interest towards wildlife. Javier studied biology in Spain and Norway, and was awarded his PhD at the University of Barcelona in 2012, titled “Birds as bioindicators of pollution in terrestrial and aquatic environments”. Within it he mainly studied the trophic ecology and pollution levels of land and waterbirds, with a particular focus on how human activities affect bird populations and dynamics. His work provided important information for conservation management of wetlands and terrestrial habitats and the species that utilize them.

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