Our day started as usual on National Geographic Explorer. Breakfast was ready at 07:00, and we were surrounded by mountains and ice in beautiful Antarctica! At 8:30, we had the chance to meet one of the four women who stays on a small island called Goudier through the Antarctic summer. This woman visited us on board and told us about Port Lockroy’s history. The area was used by whalers and later became Base A for Operation Tabarin in the 1940s. The station was used until the 1980s and then went into disuse. Since the late 1990s, the British Antarctic Heritage Trust has been taking care of this and other historical sites on the Antarctic Peninsula, and they raise funds to do so through the post office and gift shop sales. After this briefing, we went ashore at this peculiar location and found ourselves surrounded by penguins before entering the historical hut and museum. Entering this building was like leaping through time. We observed old books, kitchen items that dated from the 1950s, and plenty of history on the walls. The gift shop was opened for us, and many postcards were placed in the mailbox. After our visit to Port Lockroy, we observed a couple crabeater seals resting on some ice floes on our way back to the ship. Crabeater seals are the most plentiful seals in the world; they are specialized krill eaters and only live in Antarctica!
We left Port Lockroy and entered the amazing Peltier Channel. As we cruised through, we had the chance to take good looks at the glaciers that slide down the steep sides of Winke Island. What a morning!
During the afternoon, we headed west into Borgen Bay. The bay is located to the east of Anvers Island, and it is surounded by high mountains that protected us from the wind in all directions. The water was flat and calm, which allowed us to set up kayaks and go for a paddle. The crew of National Geographic Explorer made boarding the kayaks easy for us. We moved from the ship to a Zodiac, and from a Zodiac to a kayak. We paddled for about an hour in the calm and frigid waters of Antarctica. We were able to get closer to the brash ice and take photos from a different perspective. Next, we did a Polar Plunge from a Zodiac attached to the side of the ship. Many of us decided to just observe those brave enough to carry out this crazy ritual. What a great way to finish our fantastic day in this amazing area.