about Antarctica is predictable or “normal.” Our first landing yesterday was
flat and calm, with only a light overcast. This morning was an example of how
weather can change rapidly. The morning was all but calm as winds blew across
Bransfield Strait. Clouds rolled across the high mountain peaks of the Trinity
Peninsula, which marks the end of the mainland Antarctic Peninsula. To the
north of Trinity Peninsula were a few large islands that created a wide channel
leading to the western side of the Weddell Sea.
as breakfast was being served, the ship approached the island of Gourdin. The Captain
was able to anchor slightly in the lee of the island, so Zodiac cruises were
organized. Slowly moving along the shore, we were able to see large numbers of
penguins nesting as high as the top of the island. Along the shore certain
spots provided the birds with relatively easy access in and out of the water. Activity
was not limited to the land as, in the water and even near the Zodiacs, groups
of penguins would move en masse popping out of the water, exhibiting a behavior
attempts were made by everyone taking photos to get birds as they shot out of
the water before returning below the surface waves. A few of the Zodiac groups
found leopard seals patrolling the coastline looking for unsuspecting penguins.
At this time of year, the seals are supplementing their food selection with
penguins even though their primary diet is, of course, krill. Most everyone in
Antarctica relies on krill.
returned to the ship, and then continued eastward through Antarctic Sound. Our intentions
were to visit Brown Bluff at the tip of the Trinity Peninsula at the northern
extremes of the Antarctic Peninsula. Wind from the northeast, however, had
blown large amounts of broken glacier ice onto and along the shoreline. So, Zodiac
cruising was the alternative—and in the end it was a fantastic option.
sun shone brightly through the afternoon. Above us were the high colorful
cliffs of Brown Bluff where, at the bottom, large masses of mostly Adélie
penguins were occupying themselves with nesting. Scattered over the offshore
waters were icebergs of all shapes and sizes. A few of the ice “sculptures”
were eroded with holes and arches. Some of the penguins found the icebergs
convenient locations to rest. Zodiac cruises were once again a great success,
with wildlife and landscapes, especially icebergs of various shapes and sizes.
another memorable day—and only the second day in Antarctica.