Just before we left Andvord Bay, we spotted a family (mother and calf) of whales coming rather close to the ship. Wonderful. Yet, the wonders weren't supposed to end there.
The destination for the day was Port Lockroy, one of the oldest research stations in Antarctica. It used to be run by the British Antarctic Survey but is now run by an independent fund. The weather continued to be gorgeous and I spent most of the time on deck enjoying the scenery and of course take a few photos. My group was last to land but being as far South as we are, it was still bright daylight. The Gentoo Penguins there are completely used to humans and build their nests almost on the steps of the station. Many of them had chicks and I got a lucky shot of an egg that had just began to hatch, with a little hole and the tiny beak visible in it. The main building had been rebuilt part as a museum displaying old equipment which provided a glimpse into the early scientists' lives. I bought another badge for my jacket and took various photos of Gentoo Penguins and Sheathbills which will grab very small chicks if the parents aren't careful but otherwise live off scraps and guano.
Back on the ship, there was another big buffet, this one meditterannean style so lots of yummy food. While we were eating, we spotted Santa Claus and his elfpenguin on one of the big rocks. He was then picked up by one of our boats and brought on board.
After dinner, I spent more time on deck, walking around a bit to work off the plentiful dinner. I'll be going back after writing this and wait for the sunset which promises to come but not before midnight.
Oh and YAY, White Christmas tomorrow!
What a beautiful day, the best early Christmas present I could think of.