We spent Christmas Eve morning around Useful Island with two rounds of Zodiac cruises to look at icebergs and penguins. We also had a landing on the island, which is home to a colony of gentoo and chinstrap penguins. There was an optional hike up a steep snowy trail to the top of the island for a scenic view. At the top, there was a red metal cylinder used to survey the islands. There were also nesting sites for both gentoo and chinstrap penguins at the summit.
For the afternoon, we had a landing at Cuverville Island, which is home to a gentoo penguin colony. We had planned to hike to the top of the peak on the island, but the snow was too deep for hiking. Everyone enjoyed walking between the two colonies on either end of the shore. There were also dozens of penguins in the water swimming and jumping out of the water. The scenic view of the bay was stunning – large snowy peaks and glaciers in the distance with a sea of floating icebergs in the foreground.
Afterwards, we did a polar plunge and 56 guests jumped in the frigid waters!