As if you'd have worried anyway but yes, we've just been offline for a couple of days. I guess the East coast of the Antarctic Peninsula was a little too remote...
So, since the last time I updated, we visited Deception Island, the huge caldera of an ancient volcano (13km in diameter) where there was little wildlife except a group of Wedell and Crabeater Seals and pair of Chinstraps but the scenery was cool, too. Reminiscent of various places I've been to in Iceland, it's a barren, almost moon-like landscape, all covered in volcanic ash.
After Deception Island, our course let us back to the Northern tip of the Peninsula and then South through the Antarctic Sound, where huge shelf icebergs drifted. Those icebergs provided a marvellous and almost alien scenery (I was reminded of the alien ships in Independence Day). We even drove alongside one, no further than 30m away (according to my lens). You could very clearly see the layers of ice and snow which made up the huge structure. Just wow...
The next morning we arrived at Snow Hill Island only to find that there was too much sea ice to land (it was a rare occasion for the ship to come down here at all so we were lucky to start with) so again the boats were set out to cruise about between the ice floes near the island.
The afternoon destination even further South, Crystal Hill on the mainland was locked in even more sea ice so no landing there, either but a few Adelie penguins bobsledding along made up for the missed landing.
The ship turned around and headed North again to reach the next morning's destination: Brown Bluff, also on the mainland.
It was already quite bright when we got there and by the time the ship had found a position and the boats had been unloaded, we had bright sunshine and blue skies, so absolutely awesome weather. The landing was quite rough with a few waves that splashed the little boat and I found out how clean the water tasted, just a bit salty.
The Bluff itself hosts a huge rookery of Adelie Penguins, the "clowns of nature" as one of the lecturers called them. And indeed they were funny. Waddling along from their nests to the beach, or pushing themselves along with their feet while lying on their bellies and especially trying to get out from the water over the bits of ice floating at the beach. I have some very cool photos and a few funny video clips, too.
This was definitely the highlight of an awesome voyage, seems like they kept the best for last.
Now we're back in the Drake Passage which is a bit rougher than it was on the way down but still not a problem for me, just balancing the plates of food and cups of coffee to the table is a bit of a challenge. ;o)
We're scheduled to land in Ushuaia tomorrow morning, where we'll disembark and then take a bus tour of the Tierra del Fuego national park. Should be good fun. Then it's on a plane to Buenos Aires in the evening, transfer to the hotel and a dinner with Tango Show at night.
I should be able to update from the hotel at BA again which will also give me opportunity to upload a selection of photos (those of you on karohemd_pics
beware!) and update ozzyvox