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.

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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.

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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!

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Buses took us from the ship dock to the airport.

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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.

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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

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

 

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!

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Cuverville Island and Gentoo Penguins!
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You could really smell the penguin guano from water level.
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Just some of the penguins from the water.
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More penguins!
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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!

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

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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!

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our kayak gear!
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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! 🙁
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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!

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Melchior Base which is owned by Argentina.

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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.

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These icebergs were very blue!

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What a backdrop for the Ocean Adventurer!
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“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!

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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.

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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!

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Our first glimpse of the Adelie penguin.
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This pair was moving all around the ice!
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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

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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.

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British Base J
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The remains of J.
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A few of the mummified seals.
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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!  🙁

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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!

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Always fun on deck!
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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?