4th January 2017
First stop today was a landing at Orne Harbour where we could see two bays at once from the top of the hill, purely exquisite scenery, I just hope I’m getting some decent photos as it’s truly unbelievable. I’m very happy to sit for ages and take it all in without snapping thousands of pics but it will be an added bonus if there’s even just one that truly shows what we saw.
Spent more time perched on a rock sketching and had a couple of penguins quite close who are just adorable. Another snow slide back down made for great entertainment and I videoed a few of the descents.
Yet again an amazing lunch, and it was off in the zodiacs for a cruise around Foyne Harbour with a few circles around the wreck of the Gouvernoren. This was a whaling ship that caught fire and was sunk to prevent the whale oil cargo from igniting and exploding. Once the fire was extinguished the cargo was rescued. The Gouvernoren is a big rusty hulk with just part of it rising out of the ocean quite near the shore, huge banks of pure white ice behind and blue skies overhead, just fantastic.
We then motored further to a couple of old small wooden whaler’s boats on the shore that are well preserved due to the cold dry air. It’s so surprising that Antarctica is the driest continent but this is what helps preserve wooden structures down here.
Whale watching in a big boat will never be the same, we spent the next couple of hours following whales in the zodiac. Our group found a mother and baby to keep us happy. The baby whale was diving but not showing his tail and it seemed the mother was trying to teach him. Beau said usually when they show their tail and dive they won’t appear again for quite some time. This one kept diving, showing her tail and coming back up to repeat. Eventually, just as we had decided to stop following, we were cheering when they both dived and we saw 2 tails appear. How exciting!! Beau was also beside himself as the baby whale spy-hopped right at the front side of our zodiac. They poke their head out of the water, have a look around and then sink down again. What an afternoon.
Marijke and a couple of the other zodiac drivers found a pod of whales and were included in their bubble net hunting circle. She showed us footage later and was just about jumping out of her skin with excitement. It all adds to our experience when the guides are just as, or even more excited than us, all the more so because they know some of these experiences are quite rare.
I think I got a touch of sun today – who’d have thought you could say that in Antarctica – and also not enough water, had a headache and very tired, so an early night; but not before another delicious meal and good conversation in the dining room with my table of German mates. A couple, Jorge and Kaisa and two of their friends Christiana and Barbara, we’ve had some great evenings together.