Cruising in toward Paulet Island you had the sense of the adventure that awaited us this morning. The shore, and the hillsides were covered in Adelie Penguins! The medium walk along the beach back to the main landing site was filled with adventure, and wildlife of all sorts. Penguins, Weddell seals, Antarctic shags and a unique bird called the snowy sheathbill. The finale was a visit to the remains of an historic remains of a stone hut where 17 men of the Nordenskjold Expedition had to survive a winter. Next was an amazing ship cruise through countless massive tabular icebergs in the northern Weddell Sea. This was on our way to a group of islands known as the Danger Islands, where we were lucky enough to Zodiac cruise ice-filled waters with incredible scenery, Leopard Seals and an abundance of Adelie penguins. These islands hold probably a large percentage of the world’s Adelie population!
National Geographic Explorer
As we crossed the Drake Passage, we partook in a thorough decontamination protocol to prepare for our landfall on the Antarctic continent today. Boots were scrubbed, bags were vacuumed out, and no seed was left clinging to a Velcro strap. By doing this we greatly reduced the chance of unwittingly ferrying unwanted hitchhikers like plants, fungal spores, or pathogens to the White Continent. We are now ready for Antarctica!