We made it to the White Continent today, and it was magnificent. Adelie and gentoo penguins greeted us when we landed on Brown Bluff. The penguin superhighway was in full effect as both species made their way to and from the colonies. The continent gifted us with our first close look at penguins, and we delighted in the sight of fluffy gentoo chicks. Some of the chicks were brand new, and others were a few weeks old. It was interesting to see the variability in age. The ventifacts, amazing boulders carved by the wind, were a site to behold in the stunning summer sunshine.
After landing, we regrouped over a tasty lunch as the ship traveled towards Devil’s Island. We stopped on the way to observe some amazing killer whales. These large Type B whales are pack ice animals. They are tinted yellow, meaning diatoms cover them. We watched the whales for quite a while and even caught glimpses of humpbacks at the same exact time!
The afternoon was a very typical and dynamic one in the Antarctic. One moment the sea was a glassy calm, and then just minutes later, katabatic winds picked up. After the weather became uncooperative, we stayed on the ship and enjoyed an amazing presentation by naturalist Conor Ryan about whales of the Southern Ocean.
We are now skirting bad weather as we head for the western side of the peninsula. The Weddell Sea was glorious, and we are excited to see what the west side will bring. What a time to be alive!