Saturday, April 12, 2014

Hello, this is your captain speaking…

Please fasten your seatbelts
as we prepare for our descent
into the last of our Antarctic blog posts.

Please enjoy your penguins and seals as after this we will be sailing into warmer Summerhood Island weather.

We have enjoyed our stint as your tour guides.
 Feel free to contact us with requests for autographs or personalized pictures.  
And we thank you for your interest.

After South Georgia, we had two days at sea filled with lectures on Penguins, who governs Antarctica and how do we do science there, an amazing tour of the bridge,
and lectures on the do's and don'ts to follow when actually setting foot on the Antarctic continent.  After years of various countries on various bases crapping up a huge area around them with waste there are finally rules in place to try and take care of what's left of this pristine continent.

Our first stop is Deception Bay.  After a precarious threading through narrow
the captain brings us into a harbor surrounded by a volcanic crater.

We were only on the island about an hour, but in that time this frozen area thawed into a running stream.

Next up was Pendulum Bay, home of the famous geothermal spring.  If we were brave enough, they said, we could swim.  Swim.  In Antarctica.  I had visions of a lovely deep thermal hot tub pool.
nina getting ready to undress
Not quite.  But I did it anyway, and I have a certificate to prove how stupid I am.

yes, it was warm. but only for about 6 feet from the shore. then the chill of the air and ocean overcame the heat from the sand. you can't see it in these photos but there was ice floating in the water about ten feet out from us. 

And then we're done with islands, and actually setting foot on the coast.  Chinstrap

and Adelie penguins,
you lookin' at me?
some serious snow climbing

up to see rookeries
yes, that's all penguin poop.
and not so serious snow sliding back down.
nina follows our new tour guide
And the zodiac trip around all of the icebergs and ice shelves,

touching an iceberg
threading our way through
complete with wildlife
leopard seal

waddel  seal
one lonely chinstrap catches a ride
and a champagne toast.

This trip was not on my bucket list.  It was my bucket list.  And it was everything I had imagined
and so much more.