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ANTARCTICA II

The Seventh Continent

sunny 30 °F
View 2020 Vision - around South America on HopeEakins's travel map.

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We know the drill now. We arose early, ate breakfast while looking out at frozen landscape, dressed in our layers, and went down to board our zodiac. We are in the strangely named Paradise Bay, and the landscape is different today ... craggier mountains, a low cloud cover, ice floating all around us, and baby, it’s cold outside.

Today we didn’t make a wet landing but toured the area in our little boats. The first surprise happened right away; we sailed around the ship to a stationary zodiac – to which we latched on and were offered hot chocolate with Kahlua or Bailey’s . Well. After a sip (or two) we sailed to a floe on which basked a crab-eating seal with a beautiful coat and a sweet dog-like face. We watched Gentoo penguins play and petrels swoop, and we looked at a lot of ice. The photos don’t capture the colors of the ice. Actually ice is blue, intense gorgeous blue, and when it captures ice bubbles, the air makes it look white. We were offered a chance to fish a chunk of ice from the sea and take it back, rinse the salt off and have it in a drink. Apparently, the bubbles inside it were formed maybe ten thousand years ago and have been under ice pressure ever since, so when the ice melts in your drink the ancient air pops out and crackles. We didn’t do it because it meant taking off our gloves. Wusses.

The white hulled ship pictured here is the Silver Whisper as we sailed away from it. The black hulled ship is another member of the fleet, the Silver Cloud. The Cloud is an exploration vessel also in Paradise Bay, and the two ships sailed (very slowly) side by side while passengers and crew waved and shouted. On each vessel a crew member flourished a four foot cardboard hand on a stick. It really was amazing to see this apparition in the most remote place we have ever been.

Posted by HopeEakins 11:06 Archived in Antarctica

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