December 16, 2013
I decided to go on our zodiac cruise today without a camera. Sometimes it’s nice to take a full 2 1/2 hour ride without looking through the viewfinder. It was spectacular. Sitting inches away from the ice, and taking it all in. We passed by massive icebergs, each one looking so different from the others. So…taking photos from Kathleen’s camera…
The red Argentinian base stood out among its mountainous background, so distinct in front of the pure white snow. I sat next to Simon and he said even though that base is there for research, the Argentineans just want to wave their flag to claim the land in case the Antarctic Treaty falls through. But, he said, the treaty is not up for renewal until 2049. We saw a couple of seals too, and I saw his whiskers through the binoculars. Simon said that if I ever do come back that I should extend my journey to South Georgia and the Falkland Islands – that would make the whole trip about 18 days – I would love to come back one day. We have been extremely lucky though for really good weather everyday. There was a point during the cruise where we sat in front of the glacier and the icebergs and Eva decided to turn off the engine.
We sat there peacefully and I closed my eyes and could hear everything: the ice crack, the water move gently, the wildlife. Eva said that what makes these trips are not only the sites, but the people. One time they had an astronaut, and he said that Antarctica is the closest to another planet. I believe it. It’s magical here.
This afternoon we went to Michelson Bay. There were more penguins there, mostly Gentoo.
Simon pointed out an an Adélie penguin as well, which has a white belly and black body and head with a white eye ring. It was my least favorite landing, mainly because there wasn’t too much to it, but the others have already been spectacular. We snuck around one side of the beach and pulled out the two Jameson’s and Absolut. Oh shucks, I took a look at the vodka and it was vanilla flavored. Gross. Oh well. Cheers. A small sip of the vodka and I had to wash it down with the Jameson’s. A few of the penguins came up to us just a few feet away.