Every single day, I am mesmerised by the beauty we encounter down here at the bottom of the Earth. Today was filled with little moments that I want to hold close to my heart until the end of my days. Every vista in this landscape is a perfect portrait of isolation, and every glimpse of wildlife is an illustration of struggle and the drive for survival. This morning, we spent our time Zodiac cruising amongst penguin colonies in the Argentine Archipelago. Protected from strong winds between the islands, we could look down into the crystal-clear waters and finally see penguins. They were in their element darting about underwater and “flying” through the seas on stunted flipper wings but “flying” with precision and grace!
What I love dearly about our team here on National Geographic Resolution is the vision that every moment can be enhanced. While cruising along the shore of the Vernadsky Research Station, what is the one thing that you would want on a chilly Zodiac cruise amongst icebergs, penguins, and gently falling snow? Hot cocoa, to be sure! And there they were, our hotel team out in their very own Zodiac to warm us up with hot chocolate and a selection of “extras” should you be in the mood for a little kick to your cocoa.
The afternoon excitement saw us exploring Petermann Island, a rocky coastline with raised pebble beaches that rise steeply to elevations of up to 250 meters (820 feet) of ice looming over the bird colonies below. Here, we observed three species of brush-tailed penguins, and we got to meet “Antarctic” imperial shags. The healthy chicks were bigger than the adults. It feels a little bit surprising to have grown accustomed to ground dwelling penguins, only to have a black and white bird soar over your head.
We started our day with a foreboding weather forecast, but we managed to find tranquil waters to head out and explore. Our expectations were exceeded when the sun came out and continued to shine down on what has already been a very lucky and memorable journey.