Day 26 February 17th

Day 26

Saturday, February 17th

Back in Ushuaia and off to the airport

We were up early to get our passports from the ship’s reception desk.  They held on to everyone’s passport while we were on the ship.

We each received a certificate at the end of our voyage!

After breakfast we were given our boarding passes by a Quark’s Ushuaia representatives.

Coming into Ushuaia in the morning.

On our way to get our belongings out of our cabin, we noticed this message from our kayak guides.  We were so glad that we were part of this special group!


Buses took us from the ship dock to the airport.

Ushuaia’s airport.

We had three hours until our flight.  Many of the people on our ship were also on our flight from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires.  So we chatted and did some reading in the airport.  Our flight was 3 1/2 hours to the airport in Buenos Aires.  We again had several hours before our overnight flight to Atlanta, Georgia.  The sky was really clear when we took off from Buenos Aires.

Just one view of part of Buenos Aires.

We went through customs in Atlanta and then had time to get from the international concourse to the concourse for our flight to Columbus!  Twenty four hours of being in airports and planes was long enough for us.  We were thankful our flights were on time and went smoothly!

This trip was an incredible adventure and we highly recommend experiencing the 7th continent.  Our words and pictures don’t adequately portray the splendor and beauty of the wildlife and landscape of Antarctica, South Georgia, and the Falkland Islands


We look forward to more traveling adventures and sharing them with you!


Day 25 February 16th

Day 25

Friday, February 16th

Crossing the Drake Passage: Day 2

After breakfast this morning, we were given a bonus!  We made good time through the Drake Passage so the Captain got permission from the keeper at the Chilean station to do a ship cruise of the area and so we sailed around Cape Horn!  It is a beautiful sunny day!  Many times it is very windy and there is fog in the area but we were fortunate today.  In the distance you can see the lighthouse, station, and monument that is dedicated to the thousands of sailors lost on more than 800 ships that were wrecked sailing around this landmark!IMG_2629IMG_2630IMG_2631IMG_2658IMG_2638

Cape Horn Monument is on the left and the Lighthouse and station are on the right side.
Cape Horn Lighthouse and Station


After our morning out on the decks of the ship, we had several presentations from the expedition team.  Jimmy did a talk about Orca whales.  Then Sam did a presentation on “Southern Ocean Seabirds and Conservation”.  He suggested that we explore the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) website.

Abbey conducted a disembarkation briefing.  We can’t believe that our time together is almost over. 🙁

This afternoon the 16 kayak passengers met with our kayak guides, Tara and Todd for a champagne toast and a kayak slideshow that they put together for us!  It was a nice way to end our paddling time.

During our daily debriefing, Ali, our expedition leader, presented a slideshow that highlighted our daily adventures!  It was so much fun reliving every day of our Epic Antarctica trip.  The pictures that passengers shared to the photo computers on board and pictures that Nicky, our onboard photographer took, we have access to and can download any pictures.  This is great if you didn’t have a camera or had camera difficulties.  Click on this link to see Ali’s final recap:    Epic Antarctica Expedition Leader Final Recap 16 Feb 18  Ali’s visual slideshow ended with Farewell cocktails with the Captain.  He said “you NOW know the difference between an expedition and a river cruise!”

During our farewell dinner all of the kitchen and hotel staff were introduced and dessert was a buffet of amazing chocolate confections!  We wish we had taken pictures of the two tables filled with desserts!  They even had some gluten free brownies, mousse, and chocolate rice krispie treats!  While the desserts were being consumed, Nicky, the ship photographer, put together an awesome movie of our expedition trip. All of us appreciated her hard work!  Tomorrow is our last morning on board the Ocean Adventurer which has been our home for three weeks!

Day 24 February 15th

Day 24th

Thursday, February 15th

Crossing the Drake Passage: Day 1

Today we are in the middle of crossing the Drake Passage.  It is a little over 600 miles wide from South America’s Cape Horn and the South Shetland Islands of Antarctica. It will take us about 2 days to cross!

Our view from any direction on the ship, nothing but water!

The Drake Passage has the reputation for being the roughest sea-passage in the world.  We had read stories about how rough the water can be and how high the waves could be crashing into the expedition ships.  The Drake Passage is the convergence of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Southern seas.  We were fortunate that the Drake wasn’t bad at all but there were passengers not feeling well.

Nicky, our ship photographer, gave a talk about editing our photos and what programs she uses for her photo editing.  Then D.J., our geologist, gave a very important talk on Global Warming.  He also had a handout of resources and things we could do to help!  We’ve included his handout below because this is SO important for all of us!  Please take some time and read over the organizations and suggestions that are in his handout.

compiled 2018 by djaffe
Grassroots Organizations with whom you can share in doing good: An international campaign dedicated to fighting climate change, gets its name from
the maximum level of atmospheric carbon dioxide — 350 parts per million (ppm) — that
climate scientists agree will maintain our planet’s long-term ecological health.
Earth Policy Institute This group, founded by internationally renowned environmentalist Lester Brown, based in
Washington, D.C., produces authoritative reports on global issues, as well as detailed
roadmaps for how to solve interconnected environmental and social challenges.
Friends of the Earth
Whether via exposing corruption in Keystone XL pipeline proposals or persuading
thousands of grocery stores not to carry genetically modified salmon, this nonprofit is a
hard-hitting voice pressing for change locally, on the global stage, and politically in the halls
of Congress.
Union of Concerned
This alliance of more than 400,000 citizens and scientists uses scientific analysis — not
political calculations or corporate hype — to push for responsible changes in government
policy, corporate practices and consumer choices.
Cornucopia Institute
This nonprofit, headquartered in Cornucopia, WI., supports sustainable agriculture and
often challenges Big Ag and even the USDA — and wins.
Natural Resources
Defense Council
The NRDC uses law, science and the support of 1.4 million members and online activists to
protect wild places and foster a safe and healthy environment for both people and wildlife.
Nature Conservancy
Since its foundation in 1951, this global conservation group has safeguarded more than 115
million acres of land from development. The Conservancy works with landowners,
communities and businesses to achieve conservation goals.
Organic Seed Alliance The leading organic seed institution in the United States, this group conducts organic plantbreeding
and seed-production research, educates farmers, and advocates for national
policies that strengthen and protect organic seed systems.
Pew Charitable
The Environment Group branch of the Pew Charitable Trusts is a global organization that
advises international policymakers on many crucial environmental issues, which it divides
into three categories: ocean, land and energy.
Sierra Club The Sierra Club, founded in 1892, has an impressive, storied history and is one of the oldest
and largest grass-roots environmental organizations in the United States. The group’s
website is a hub of opportunities to participate in all sorts of environmental campaigns,
from rallying against fracking to opposing carbon pollution.
compiled 2018 by djaffe
Ten Ways to Reduce Burning Fossil Fuels
Burning fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, oil and gasoline raises the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,
and carbon dioxide is a major contributor to the greenhouse effect and global warming. You can help to reduce the
demand for fossil fuels, which in turn reduces global warming, by using energy more wisely.
The following is a list of 10 steps YOU can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:
1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Buying products with minimal packaging will help to reduce waste. By recycling
half of your household waste, you can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide annually.
2. Use Less Heat and Air Conditioning: Adding insulation to your walls and installing weather stripping or
caulking around doors and windows can lower your heating costs more than 25 percent, by reducing the
amount of energy you need to heat and cool your home. Turn down the heat while you’re sleeping at night
or away during the day, and keep temperatures moderate at all times. Install a programmable thermostat
because setting it just 2 degrees lower in winter and higher in summer could save about 2,000 pounds of
carbon dioxide each year.
3. Replace Your Light Bulbs: Wherever practical, replace regular light bulbs with compact florescent light
(CFL) bulbs. Replacing just one 60-watt incandescent light bulb with a CFL will save you $30 over the life of
the bulb. CFLs also last 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, use two-thirds less energy, and give off 70
percent less heat. If every Canadian family replaced one regular light bulb with a CFL, it would eliminate 90
billion pounds of greenhouse gases, the same as taking 7.5 million cars off the road.
4. Drive Less and Drive Smart: Less driving means fewer emissions. Besides saving gasoline, walking and biking
are great forms of exercise. Explore the local public transportation system and check out options for
carpooling to work or school. When you do drive, make sure your car is running efficiently. For example,
keeping your tires properly inflated can improve your gas mileage by more than 3 percent. Every gallon of
gas you save not only helps your budget, it also keeps 20 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
5. Buy Energy-Efficient Products: Home appliances now come in a range of energy-efficient models.
6. Use Less Hot Water: Set your water heater at 120 degrees to save energy, and wrap it in an insulating
blanket if it is more than 15 years old. Buy low-flow showerheads to save hot water and about 350 pounds of
carbon dioxide yearly. Wash your clothes in cold water to reduce your use of hot water and the energy
required to produce it. That change alone can save at least 500 pounds of carbon dioxide annually in most
7. Use the “Off” Switch: Save electricity and reduce global warming by turning off lights when you leave a
room, and using only as much light as you need. And remember to turn off your television, stereo and
computer when you’re not using them. Turn off the water when you’re not using it. For example, while
brushing your teeth, shampooing the dog or washing your car, turn off the water until you actually need it
for rinsing.
8. Plant a Tree: If you have the means to plant a tree, start digging. Trees absorb carbon dioxide and give off
oxygen. A single tree will absorb approximately one ton of carbon dioxide during its lifetime.
9. Get a Report Card from Your Utility Company: Many utility companies provide free home energy audits to
help consumers identify areas in their homes that may not be energy efficient. In addition, many utility
companies offer rebate programs to help pay for the cost of energy-efficient upgrades.
10. Encourage Others to Conserve: Share information about recycling and energy conservation with your
friends, neighbors and co-workers, and take opportunities to encourage public officials to establish
programs and policies that are good for the environment.
compiled 2018 by djaffe
While we’re at it, Ten Ways to Support Our Oceans
1. Ask for sustainable seafood: Let chefs, wait-staff, and the folks behind the fish counter know that
sustainable seafood is important to you.
2. Sign up for Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup: Volunteers remove trash from
beaches and shorelines, and data collected by these citizen-scientists help inform solutions that
keep trash out of our oceans in the first place.
3. Reduce (revisited): Since packaging materials account for much of the trash we generate, they
provide a good opportunity for reducing waste—consider items with less, reusable or recyclable
4. Reuse (revisited): More than 60% of the litter collected during the International Coastal Cleanup
consists of disposable items. Choose reusable shopping bags, coffee mugs and food containers.
5. Recycle (yep…again): If you can’t reuse it, recycle it. Check online with your local government to
see what you can and can’t give back, and recycle everything possible.
6. Be a green boater: Protect the boating experience along with the ocean. A little spill makes a big
difference; be especially careful with oil, gasoline, solvents and sewage. Bring your trash back to
shore. Join Ocean Conservancy’s green boating program, Good Mate!
7. Reduce your carbon “finprint”: Our ocean is on the front lines of climate change—absorbing half
the CO2 we’ve pumped into the atmosphere. Using mass transit, carpool and find other ways to
reduce your carbon footprint.
8. Take only pictures: Choose vacation spots working to protect endangered sea animals.
9. Prevent contaminated runoff: No matter where you live, the ocean is downstream. Don’t use
chemical fertilizers and pesticides on your lawn. On the driveway, avoid harmful cleaning products
and take proper care of spilled oil
10. Vote Green: Urge your representatives to support ocean-friendly policies that protext our ocean.
Stay informed through e-alerts from Ocean Conservancy and share your passion with others!

David Jaffee, D.J. for short, giving his presentation on Global Warming!

This afternoon Jimmy, a marine biologist, gave a presentation on the “Biology of Whales” and Miko, also a marine biologist, gave a presentation on “Frozen Ends- the Arctic and the Antarctic”.

The highlight this afternoon was viewing a partial solar eclipse!  A couple on our expedition knew there was going to be an eclipse today and brought glasses for all of us to share so we could view it!  We’re very lucky these passengers were aware of it!  It was about a 30% eclipse of the sun by the moon.  It was visible in the southern South American and areas of Antarctica.  Below are a couple of pictures from the eclipse.  The first picture is from the ship’s photographer and the second is from one of the passengers!


The clouds moved in during it and it was really eerie looking.

My picture from the eclipse doesn’t show much more than the clouds.  I didn’t have any filter for taking a direct picture!  It does show some interesting cloud cover.IMG_2615

After our daily briefing and dinner, we had the “Drake Talks”!  They are a much shorter version of the very popular TED talks.  These were given by passengers on our voyage.  They each had 5 minutes to talk and 3 minutes for questions from the audience.  Nine passengers bravely shared their stories.  It was informative and a fun evening!

Todd, our kayak guide, introduces the Drake Talks!
The topics discussed during the Drake Talks.

Even though it was a day at sea, we were busy out on deck or listening to the various presentations!

Day 23 February, 14th

Day 23

Wednesday, February 14th     Valentine’s Day

Cuverville Island, Melchior Islands, Farewell Celebration

We arrived at Cuverville Island which contains the largest gentoo penguin colony in the region.  Cuverville is located in the Errera Channel.  We were able to kayak, the winds and the weather cooperated!  We circumnavigated the island in our kayaks.  We experienced the island from the water level!

Cuverville Island and Gentoo Penguins!
You could really smell the penguin guano from water level.
Just some of the penguins from the water.
More penguins!
Penguins and a fur seal from one side of the island.

As we paddled the backside of the island we saw humpback whales!  They didn’t come close enough for a picture.  We don’t have many pictures from paddling because our water camera had quit working and our point and shoot is long gone so the only photos we took are from our phone and we didn’t want to lose them!  After our morning paddling experience was finished, we did have time to take a zodiac to the island and explore on our own!

“You can’t catch me!”
Coming back from feeding.
Look at all that guano and of course the gentoo penguins! 🙂
Love the backdrop for the gentoos!
A smaller penguin highway. The snow is almost gone from this part of the island!
“We’re starting to get our adult feathers!”
A nosy penguin!
A pair of penguins coming close to the camera.
“I’ll just lay here ’til this molting phase is over!”
Gentoo chick wandering close by.
“What are you looking at?”

After all of us were back on the ship, the anchor was raised and we headed to the Melchior Islands.  Such beauty surrounds us as we cruise to our next stop!

This was the board near the dining room that we checked daily for kayaking announcements!

We had lunch and this was going to be our last time to paddle!

our kayak gear!
These papers were hanging on our announcement board for us to mark if we were going to paddle when it was offered. On this particular kayak destination we didn’t get to paddle because of the wind! 🙁
Our kayak assignment board.

At the Melchior Islands we were able to paddle around the Dallmann Bay while the rest of the passengers were on a zodiac tour.  We were glad that we got to paddle here.  The base pictures that you see below are of the Argentinian Base Melchior.  It is a summer base that is rarely occupied but today the Argentinian flag is flying and the base is occupied!

Melchior Base which is owned by Argentina.


Below is the area where we paddled.IMG_2570IMG_2573IMG_2577

Below are some of the photos we took with our phones.  It was a beautiful afternoon for our last paddle.


These icebergs were very blue!


What a backdrop for the Ocean Adventurer!
“I need longer arms”! Our attempt at a selfie! 😉

How lucky we were to paddle with such a great group of people.  A big thank you to our kayak guides: Todd, on the far left, and Tara, on the far right!


After returning from kayaking and the last of the zodiacs returned, we had a farewell toast to Antarctica on deck 5 aft.

Champagne and hors d’oeuvres were served and Ali gave a toast.

After the farewell to Antarctica toast, our ship entered the Drake Passage!  The ship began swaying.  Many passengers did not feel well again.  Those of us at dinner enjoyed a Valentine’s Day themed meal and the dining room was decorated too.

The dining room is decorated for Valentine’s Day!

Tonight’s activity was the Expedition Team hosting a charity auction!

Day 22 February 13th

Day 22

Tuesday, February 13th

Fish Islands, Prospect Point

This morning we did a zodiac cruise through the pack ice and icebergs on our way to the Minnows.  The Fish Islands are individual islands that are named after different fish species:  Flounder, Plaice, Trout, Salmon and the islets known as The Minnows!

We began our zodiac cruise south of these islands. Following the edge we headed north. We took our time and attempted to traverse the narrow passages between the icebergs, brash & forming sea ice. The sky was overcast, and at times a brisk wind carried snowflakes onto our faces.  At one point we were worried that we wouldn’t make it to see our 7th species of penguin, the Adelie!IMG_2239IMG_2240IMG_2245IMG_2251

At least we saw 2 Adelie penguins on an sea ice and a seal resting!

Our first glimpse of the Adelie penguin.
This pair was moving all around the ice!
He just looked at us because we were disturbing his rest!

We saw some incredible looking icebergs.  You know how you see shapes in clouds, we were doing the same with the icebergs.  It was impressive the color and shape variances.  Some of the icebergs appeared to be illuminated and some are so blue.  They are spectacular!  IMG_2253IMG_2283IMG_2284IMG_2295IMG_2301IMG_2311

We finally made it and had a short time to observe the Adelie penguins at The Minnows, which are low-lying, rocky outcrops. They are occupied by Adélie penguins, with an estimated 1600 breeding pairs between 12 colonies. Blue-eyed shags also breed on the islands and a few were seen flying back to check on their chicks!

The Adelie penguins are the smallest of the Antarctic penguins.  They are about 2 feet tall and weigh 8-9 pounds!  If you’ve ever read the children’s book Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Captain Cook is an Adelie penguin.IMG_2334IMG_2321IMG_2315

It was very cold on the zodiac due to the wind and waves that got us very wet.  The temperature was about 37 degrees F.

After lunch we were going to try to kayak but it was canceled due to the windy conditions.  We went on zodiacs over to Prospect Point.

Prospect Point was our second continental landing.IMG_2347


Here we saw the remains of a British Surveying and Geological Base J.  This base was occupied from 1957-1959.  There are remains of seals (they are mummified from many winters) that were used to feed the dogs.

British Base J
The remains of J.
A few of the mummified seals.
A close up of a seal.

There was a hike up the snow to a beautiful view of the area.IMG_2386IMG_2392IMG_2381IMG_2395IMG_2423

It was another day of adventure in Antarctica!

Day 21 February 12th

Day 21

Monday, February 12th

The Antarctic Circle, Fish Islands, Polar Plunge

We didn’t have any kayaking today because of the winds being too strong!  🙁

Our kayaks stayed strapped on their shelves!

Around 9:30 AM we crossed the Antarctic Circle.  Champagne was served and a celebration was held on the aft deck!

Always fun on deck!
We were very excited to be this far south!

As we continued south toward our destination, the sea ice was packed too thickly for us to arrive at our stop at Detaille Island which is located just south of the Antarctic Circle, 66°52′S 66°47′W.   It was the home of Station W.  It is a well preserved abandoned British research station from the late 1950s.  Crystal Sound, 66º45.492’ S, was our farthest location after the crossing of the Antarctic Circle.  Since the winds were too strong for this landing, we were told we would be taking a short zodiac cruise instead and then heading back north!

In the meantime, Miko did a presentation on his experience at the Polish Antarctic Research Station.  He is one of our marine biologists.  It was fascinating what all he did while stationed there.

Later on Mike did a talk about how the different ice forms develop and other information about icebergs.

The winds were still too strong so we didn’t even get to do the zodiac cruise around Detaille Island!  Maybe we’ll see it on another Antarctic Adventure. (I don’t think that will happen, but never say never!)  The ship then started heading north toward the Fish Islands.  We were going to attempt to do a zodiac cruise after dinner but it was too foggy here and we really want to see an Adelie penguin colony!  We’re going to try tomorrow.  I hope the weather cooperates.  Since there wasn’t going to be a cruise at the Fish Islands either, we were going to do the Polar Plunge after dinner!

A few more pictures from the icebergs as we headed toward our anchor spot for the “plunge”!

Around 9:30 it was time for the Polar Plunge!  There were 38 passengers and 2 of the expedition team members did the plunge too!  We both took the plunge!  The water temperature was 28 degrees F!  It was cold!  We jumped in and right back out but we can say we survived it.

They put a towel around us when we boarded and handed us a shot of vodka which we didn’t even taste!  We went and took a warm shower, dressed quickly so we could see others jump from the upper decks!  What adventures will tomorrow bring for us?

Epic Antarctica Adventure- Day 20

Day 20

February 11th

Port Lockroy on Goudier Island,  and Jougla Point, Lemaire Channel

We anchored near Port Lockroy on Goudier Island and Jugla Point.  We dressed for our kayak excursion and went to the lounge to listen to the presentation by the representative of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust.  She explained what they are and that she is one of 4 spending the summer on Port Lockroy.  As soon as she finished her talk, we headed to meet our kayak guides, Tara and Todd to go paddling!

We went kayaking all around Port Lockroy and Goudier Island. The winds were light and we only had a small wind chop.  From the kayaks we spotted gentoo penguins, Antarctic fur seal, snowy sheathbill, blue-eyed shag, south polar skua, brown skua, Weddell seal, and the Wilson’s storm petrel.  Goudier Island, also known as Port Lockroy, was the site for the original Base A.  It has been refurbished with a museum and gift shop.  We explored the geological features on the backside of Goudier Island.  We continued around the island and crossed over to Jougla Point where we observed some nesting shags and soon to be fledgling Gentoo penguins.

Paddling at Port Lockroy.
Port Lockroy is in the background.  It was the site of the original Base A.

P1010053 When we finished our paddling, we headed to shore to explore the museum and mail our postcards.

When we visited the museum at Port Lockroy it was very interesting.  The former base was renovated and opened as a monument and museum in 1996.  Below are some pictures from the museum.

It also has the Penguin Post Office that the summer team manages and hand stamps.  As far as we know it is the southernmost post office.

This is where you mail your letters and postcards.

Port Lockroy museum and post office is operated by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust.  There are 4 women that run the museum and post office during the summer season, from November to March.  They have no running water.  They get to take a shower when a ship makes an excursion to the island!  There is also no central heating, no phone signal, and no means of communication with the world other that VHF radio and satellite phones for emergencies.  And no darkness either, it is pretty much 24 hours a day of daylight.  You also don’t have electricity that comes from a power station and no flushing toilet, it is a camping type toilet.  They also have a gentoo colony that lives all around them so they need to clean the penguin poo off the pathways while following the strict Antarctic Treaty to ensure strict guidelines on the care of the environment are adhered to!

It was slippery climbing these rocks up to the museum.
We tried to keep our distance from the penguins but they would join us on the paths!
Part of the colony that was off limits to us! Penguins only!
The building behind the penguins, is the living quarters for the 4 women who ran the museum and post office.


The remains of a ship.
“Mom and Dad where are you?”
“I’m too tired to worry about these visitors!
Watching the people!
Waddling around the island!

 After lunch we cruised through the Lemaire Channel.  The sun wasn’t shining but the views were stunning!  The Lemaire Channel is 7 miles long by 1 mile wide!

Looking ahead at the channel, it doesn’t look like our ship will fit!
This seal doesn’t care as he rests on some ice!


 The ship dropped anchor at Pleneau Bay which is located at the southern end of the Lemaire Channel.  This area is filled with stunning icebergs.  These large icebergs get blown in here, they run aground and slowly break up.  The pictures below show just a few of the icebergs and the surrounding area!  We were awestruck by the beauty!  We had difficulty choosing just a “few” of the various icebergs and surroundings pictures that we took!IMG_2111IMG_2108IMG_2107

Gentoo penguins swimming everywhere!
Gentoo penguins!


Just beautiful!

We spent our time at Pleneau Bay paddling through brash ice and being surrounded by swimming penguins that were feeding on krill.

We also saw a leopard seal resting on some ice.  We didn’t disturb him.

The resting leopard seal.
We loaded into our kayak from the zodiac!
We’re all getting ready to head into the brash ice!
Tara, one of our kayak guides, leading us into the ice!


Our expedition leader, Ali, and our ship doctor, Christy, brought us Bailey’s and hot chocolate! Yummy!

At one point while we were all surrounded by the brash ice, Todd had us all put down our paddles and listen to the ice.  We heard “snap, crackle, and pop”!  It was quite a sensory overload!

While paddling in the bay, our point and shoot camera, came loose and fell into the water!  We were sad about its loss but it was an older camera and had served us well.  We also had downloaded everything on the card before going kayaking this afternoon.  Life is too short to worry about the small stuff!  Even though we lost the camera, this was one of our favorite paddles!  It started to snow as we were out there which just added to the magic of this surreal environment.  It was incredibly beautiful, peaceful, relaxing, and pristine environment.  We can’t think of enough adjectives to describe our surroundings!

Our dinner today was a BBQ on the aft deck.  It was snowing and the views were stunning!  IMG_7775A minke whale was playing around the ship and even breached! It was quite entertaining.

After dinner, Mike, our glaciologist, did a presentation about his time in Antarctica working at one of the Australian research stations.  We decided after his talk that spending a winter in Antarctica takes a special type of person!  We don’t qualify!

What an exhilarating today!  We slept very well.


Epic Antarctica Adventure- Day 19

Day 19

Saturday, February 10th

Paradise Harbour, Waterboat Point, Danco Island

This morning we were at Paradise Harbour to do an excursion at the Argentinian Base Brown.  We were bundled up and ready to board a zodiac when the expedition team decided the brash ice was too dense and the wind too strong to go ashore.  The wind wasn’t going to get any better any time soon.

Argentina’s Base Brown
You can see all the brash ice!
Iceberg near the base.

Our ship then headed towards the Chilean Base Gonzalez Videla at Waterboat Point.  There were a lot of gentoo penguins all around as we did a ship cruise because of the weather.  Again, I want to stress these pictures are as we snapped them.  No editing or photoshop has been used!

Chilean Gonzalez Videla Station
Another view of the station and the gentoo penguins!
There was a lot of gentoo penguins.
Icebergs all around the base.
Would you want to work here at this desolate location with amazing scenery?
I wouldn’t mind visiting for a day!

Below are just a few of the fabulous views as we cruised to our next location!  Some humpback whales were escorting our ship! IMG_1836IMG_1839IMG_1847IMG_1850IMG_1852IMG_1866IMG_1860IMG_1882This afternoon we did anchor by Danco Island.  The zodiacs had to maneuver through a lot of brash ice and icebergs and the wind was really gusting!

It made for a very bumpy and wet ride!  On this island we saw many breeding gentoo penguins.  We watched many penguins nesting, molting, chicks fledgling , penguins going in and out of the water, and penguins waddling up and down their “penguin highway”!  It was incredible how high the penguins travel on this “highway”.

The Gentoo penguin highway!
Their colony is way up there!
One penguin waddling up the highway!
This is just partway up the mountain. Many more Gentoo penguins are even higher.
“Feed me!”
Thank you Mom or Dad!
Chicks, Moms, and Dads
“I’m going back to my colony!
Heading into the water for a dip!
Almost in the water.
Coming out of the water.



Epic Antarctica Adventure- Day 18

Epic Antarctica Adventure- Day 18

Friday, February 9th

Whales, Portal Point, and Hydrurga Rocks

We were awakened by Ali, our expedition team leader, at 5:30 AM because we were surrounded by at least 25 humpback whales!  It was incredible!

Every direction around our ship, we saw humpback whales!
We could hear them because it was very quiet on the decks.
Beautiful humpback whales.
The whales are huge!
One of the pods of whales that we observed.
Humpback whales and this spectacular backdrop!
They were feeding on krill.


We saw many tales!

Watch these videos and have your volume on and you can hear the humpback whales!

The weather cooperated and we were able to kayak this morning around Portal Point which was our first Antarctic continental landing!

A beautiful morning for kayaking!
Gorgeous landscape!
Todd, one of our kayak guides, is giving us information about this crabeater seal.
A crabeater seal relaxing on the iceberg.
We kayaked through the brash ice!

When we were finished kayaking this morning, we boarded a zodiac and walked around the continent of Antarctica.

Our first continental landing on Antarctica.
We saw our first Weddell seals.
“I’m too tired to worry about you!”
This beautiful lake on Antarctica.

The pictures below are unedited and no filters.  In fact, every picture in our blog have had no editing at all.  Antarctica’s landscape is just amazing!

After lunch we arrived at Hydrurga Rocks and we did a second kayak trip.  We paddled all around the rocks and we also got to zodiac to the rocks and explore the chinstrap penguins! Our underwater camera did a decent job giving you our view from the water.

The pictures below were taking when we were exploring on the rocks and watching the chinstrap penguin colony, shag colony, fur seals, and weddell seals!

Shag Colony
Chinstrap Colony
Notice all the guano. And boy did it smell!


Chinstrap chicks covered with a lot of guano.
This chick almost has all of his adult feathers.


Sleeping the day away!
“Ready to strike up the band!”


There is nothing like O-H-I-O with two other passengers from Ohio!img_2001.jpg

British beer tasting on the back deck!

Fun for all!

Beautiful evening out on deck.  (It’s about 10:00 PM when we took these pictures.)


Day 15, 16, and 17 February 6th, 7th, and 8th

Days 15, 16, and 17

February 6th, 7th, and 8th

3 Days at Sea

We left South Georgia and are sailing toward Antarctica.  The seas weren’t calm and the waves were crashing against the ship.  We were “rocking and rolling”!  On Tuesday, February 6th we attended educational presentations.  Jimmy, a marine biologist, did a talk about the whales that can be found in the Southern ocean.  He informed us that we would be seeing more whales as we visit the Antarctic peninsula area! 

There were a few other people watching Jimmy’s presentation besides me! Many watched it from their tv in their cabin.

D.J., our geologist,  gave his presentation on “Caps, Bergs, and Bits”. 

By the time that D.J. gave his presentation, the room was pretty empty. Even more were watching from their cabins.

Later in the day, Nicky, our ship photographer, did an informative session on photography techniques.  The last presentation of the day was by Burty, our historian, on “Missing Continent: The Discovery of Antarctica”.  We really appreciated all the education the expedition team offered during our trip.

Before dinner we had our daily recap and briefing. 

The room is always packed for our recap and briefing!

Over night and into tomorrow we’ll be experiencing strong winds and swells!  So, hold on tight.  The rule of thumb is to always have one hand on the ship.  It’s definitely necessary from our experience earlier in the trip!

Wednesday, February 7th was our second day at sea.  It’s very windy and the outside decks are closed due to the high swells!  The wind was blowing 70 mph and gusts were up to 115 mph!  (No wonder we had trouble staying in our bed!)  By late afternoon, the wind had died down and the decks were opened again.

After breakfast, Miko, a marine biologist, presented “The Land of the True Seals- Seals of Antarctica”.  He explained all about the various seals in Antarctica.  Later in the morning, Mike, our Glaciologist, gave his presentation “Ice Sheets- The icing on the Cake”. 

We had a second Bio-security procedure to prepare for our excursion activities in the Antarctic Peninsula.  Our outer layers and backpacks needed to be checked to make sure they were clean.  If not the expedition team would vacuum any debris so we don’t carry any foreign substance on land.  They are very protective of keeping any invasive species of any sort getting added.  We all need to be ambassadors to help protect Antarctica.  Ali, our expedition leader, announced that we needed to put on our parkas and go out on the decks to see a large tubular iceberg that was over 2 miles long!

Sam, our ornithologist, did a presentation about the penguins in the Antarctic Peninsula, “The Brush-tails- Penguins of the Antarctic Peninsula”.IMG_2453

On Day 17, Thursday, February 8th, we got up at 2:50 AM to get dressed and go out on deck to see B15T.  George2

B15T is in the distance! Can you see it? LOL!

This iceberg is 32 miles long and 8 miles wide!  All we could see in the dark was its shadow in the distance!

This morning we had a ship cruise at Pt. Wild on Elephant Island.  Earnest Shackleton and his crew landed on Elephant Island, 497 days after leaving South Georgia!  Their ship, the Endurance, had sunk after being crushed by the ice.  They used their lifeboats to try to sail and Elephant Island is where they ended up.  Some of his men stayed when he sailed.  He eventually rescued the 22 men that stayed at Pt. Wild.  It’s amazing that none of the men died.

Pt. Wild, Elephant Island
IMG_1231 copy
Memorial to Earnest Shackleton and his crew!

We were still out on deck watching for whales.  We saw fin whales!  We were all excited!

Another passenger got this great photo of the fin whale.

Sam, our ornithologist, did a presentation on krill and the Antarctic ecosystems, predators, and climate change.  It was interrupted by Orca sightings.  We all went out on the decks.  He finished his presentation later!

They’re getting closer!
Our best picture of one of the orcas!

We are seeing a lot of icebergs as we approach the Antarctic Peninsula!

This afternoon we spent some time on the bridge and we saw some fin whales again.  Mike, the glaciologist, spoke about “Ice Shelves- The Plug in the Bathtub” and D.J. talked about “Weather Climate and the Antarctic Peninsula”.  He gave a lot of suggestions for ways to become active in preventing the negative changes happening in Antarctica. 

Every afternoon the ship’s food staff set out a table that was full of sweets and sandwiches for “Afternoon Tea”!  It was quite elaborate.  Having to eat gluten free, the staff always took care of me and had a separate plate that was covered in wrap and clearly marked gluten free.

We are looking forward to tomorrow when we will be exploring off the ship!