During the night we began our passage from the Weddell Sea to the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula through the Antarctic Sound. After encountering a little bit of swell in the early morning hours, we had smooth sailing south through the Gerlache Strait, named after Adrien de Gerlache, the leader of the Belgian Antarctic Expedition that explored the area from 1897-1899. Throughout the morning, we had many great sightings of humpback whales.
National Geographic photographer Jeff Mauritzen gave a wonderful presentation on how to photograph wildlife. The photos were inspirational and the tips shared are sure to aid future photo-takers in getting great shots. We made a last second change during the morning to head to the Enterprise Island, hoping to arrive and find a bay that would be calm enough to allow us to get everyone out exploring in kayaks.
We arrived to find manageablewinds and currents, allowing us to have a wonderful afternoon in kayaks and Zodiac cruises. This is the site of the wrecked Guvernoren, a whaling ship that sunk in 1915 due to a fire onboard. Kayakers explored the wreck, observing that Antarctic terns have made their nests in the many dry nooks and crannies above the waterline. Beautiful layers of ice and snow created a backdrop perfect for photos and for those quiet moments to take it all in from a kayak just inches above the water.
For those who elected to take a Zodiac cruise, they were treated to a few more views of animals around the edges of the bay. There were small groups of chinstrap penguins on rocks, and they were occasionally seen swimming through the water. Blue-eyed shags could be seen in their nests on a snow-covered cliff edge,and skimming the water. It was a great beginning to exploring the western side of the Antarctic Peninsula!