Lion Sound & Cuverville Island

Feb 11, 2020 - National Geographic Explorer


Morning brought higher clouds and no precipitation, though yesterday had not dampened our appreciation for the beauty of the landscape. As breakfast was being served, we slowly cruised into a channel called Lion Sound. We were immediately surrounded by the tall snow and ice-shrouded mountains of Anvers Island and Lion Island. Zodiacs were deployed for an extremely scenic cruise through the sound and along the nearly vertical shores. The sea conditions were mirror-like. Minke whales and leopard seals were spotted by various groups on their routes. With the outboards turned off, the massive silence was punctuated by cracks, booms, and crashes as sections of glaciers fell off the cliffs.

As lunch satisfied our hunger, the ship crossed Gerlache Strait and into yet another passage with a scenic landscape—Errera Channel. Anchoring next to the island of Cuverville, the Zodiacs were again released from their position on the deck of the ship and drivers fired them up, ready to transport us to the island.

On the island we enjoyed the constant activity of the largest colony of nesting gentoo penguins. Many were still transporting food from the surrounding waters to their awaiting chicks. Standing stoically inland were many penguins beginning the process of molting, which replaces all of their feather coating.

There was an unending variety of icebergs to view and photograph out on Zodiacs. Everyone was able to enjoy and experience both the island's activity and the sculptured gallery of icebergs in the bay. A very full and memorable day along the Antarctic Peninsula.

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About the Author

Bud Lehnhausen

Naturalist

Bud received an undergraduate degree in wildlife biology at Colorado State University. He then immediately went to Alaska where he worked and lived for 30 years. At the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, Bud studied wildlife biology and received a master's degree conducting research on four species of alcid seabird nesting on a remote island in the Gulf of Alaska.

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