We have arrived at Deception Island – the sky is blue and it is unbelievably windy. Our expedition leader confirmed that we will not be able to go ashore as it is too dangerous to be in the zodiacs. He does know of another landing site that is more sheltered, so we are going to head there next.
As we leave the island, massive swells are coming over the bow of the ship. A couple passengers who are on the observation deck are now completely soaked – not to forget, their cameras have just received a salt water bath. I really hope they are able to work for at least a few more hours until we finish our last landing.
Here is our map again to show you where we are (landing sites #22 and #23):
We are now heading toward Yankee Harbor – hopefully the winds won’t be too strong there and we can attempt a landing.
As we sailed towards our destination, we passed the following tall ship along the coast of Livingston Island:
It is called the “Europa” and it is really beautiful. When it was about to pass us, I was quite worried. I really wanted to take a photograph of it, but it was awful outside with the high waves and wind. There was one section of our ship’s outer deck where I could (almost) be out of the way of the wind and water, so I went there. There was also a handrail close by in case I needed to hold onto it for dear life.
Anyway, as the Europa passed us, it reminded me of what the early explorers must have gone through to explore this remote and often hostile region of the world.
I personally wouldn’t want to be on that ship today given the weather and waves. We had just heard that the Clelia II, a ship that was about 12 hours ahead of us in the Drake Passage, had its bridge window blown out by a 10m wave and the ship had lost power. As beautiful as this part of the world is, it is also very dangerous. A very sobering thought.
Notice the ice and snow in the next image – I can see why making a landing in Antarctica is so difficult.
To our surprise, we were able to go ashore at Yankee Harbor – given how rough our voyage here was. The harbor is fairly calm, so kudos to our captain and expedition leader for finding this location.
This was going to be our last landing on this trip before heading back to Argentina across the Drake Passage. I just wanted to absorb as much as possible on this landing – I was actually starting to get a bit teary eyed knowing that our voyage was almost over.
As we wandered around the harbour, I came across a pair of Skua’s… they were in the process of mating.
As children might be reading this blog, I won’t post all of the photos I took 🙂
I did get a kick out of this Gentoo Penguin tearing across my frame though!
We came across a young Weddell Seal who was moulting on the beach.
I noticed something odd – as I was taking images of him, he kept getting bigger and bigger in my viewfinder. Alas… he was coming towards me!
I don’t think he was being aggressive – I think he was curious and wanted me to be his mom 🙂 I suspect he was abandoned recently and wanted some TLC. Of course, I had to back off in order to maintain my 10m distance from him. Cute little guy…
I also saw my first Chinstrap Penguins on this voyage. There were only 6 of them and here is half of the group.
My wife thinks they look like World War I soldiers with their helmets. I have to agree – they do look like they are ready for battle.
Penguins can also be territorial – especially when they are nesting. This Chinstrap Penguin was scaring off all of the Gentoo Penguins on the beach – I think he wanted a safe place for his mate to nest. Unfortunately for him, this Gentoo would not move and chased him away.
It was quite entertaining to watch this. The Penguin Wars.
Penguins also “hop” – I always giggle when I see them do this:
Our time has come – we must get ready to go back to the ship to start our journey home. But before we do that, one last obligatory tourist photograph:
To try and sum up this entire voyage in a few sentences would never do it justice, so I won’t. I will, however, make one final post in this series tomorrow and share with you what I learned on this trip.
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