January 30 - February 1, 2012

Antarctica may well be the most beautiful place on earth - as long as you are not stuck in ice floes or trying to trek to safety.  The weather here is very changeable, and the ice is not predictable, so we have to take what we can get in the places we can visit.

We chose to sleep through passing Elephant Island, as we had seen it on our last visit.  We headed straight for Hope Bay, with the Esperanza (Hope) Station belonging to Argentina, and a large colony of Adelie penguins.  When out on deck one could smell the presence of the colony.  On our last visit, we were unable to sail through here due to bad weather.

Of course we saw lots of icebergs, which come in all sizes and shapes.  And yes, the huge rectangular thing IS an iceberg!

On day two we went through the Gerlache Strait and Neumayer Channel, both places of incredible beauty.

As we were entering the Neumayer Channel we passed a colony of Blue-eyed Shags, relatives of Cormorants.

Later we sailed near the Antarctic Peninsula.

We also sailed into Paradise Bay where the Chilean Station is located, as well as another Argentine Station.

On day 2 we also had several sightings of crab-eater seals.

On the morning of day 3 we sailed past Anvers Island, where the Palmer Station (American) is located.  We woke up to the announcement that the Palmer people would be speaking at 9:00 AM, which was earlier than expected.  We went to that presentation because it is always good.  It turned out that the presentation was moved up an hour because of weather conditions, and we would be leaving quickly once the presentation was over.  Apparently there was a large storm between us and Ushuaia, Argentina, which is where we were headed, and the captain wanted to outrun the storm if at all possible.  They were expecting waves as high as 20 feet!!

The final photos show the Antarctic Peninsula scenery as we were sailing off into the storm.  All additional photos are in this album.

Even though we cannot go ashore, and cannot go below the 60th parallel because of the size of our ship, we still see a lot of the beauty of Antarctica on our visits, and we will look forward to visiting again, if we can.

© Susan L. Stone 2015