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Antarctic Peninsula Excursions - Saturday, 21 February 2015

Shore Excursions

snow 3 °C

Sunrise - 5.44 am
Sunset - 9.08 pm
Sea depth - 70 m
Position - 64°49.71`S
063°30.49`W

We sailed through the night and woke this morning to a winter wonderland.  Lots of icebergs and the land covered in snow.  There was quite a fierce wind blowing and it was snowing.  We are now in the Neumayer Channel at Damoy Point.  A lot of people opted not to go ashore in the zodiacs because the sea was pretty rough (Phil included), but Jeanette and I went and it was great.  I was covered from head to toe in several layers and wasn't cold at all.  I have to take my gloves off to work my tablet, and it was fine.

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We had a few sprays going over in the zodiac but our wet weather gear is so good, we didn't feel a thing.  Lots of icebergs and ice floating in the ocean.

We walked along the "beach" of rocks and encountered some soft, squishy stuff.  One of the naturalists told us that it was "quicksand".  We walked along the rocks and climbed up to the top and photographed some Gentoo penguins.  We took some great shots of le Boreal from up there too.  The island was a bit smelly - penguin poo.

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Then we walked back to the Edward's hut and went in and signed the book.  The wind was blowing a gale and sometimes it was hard to hold the camera still.  We walked back to the shore where the zodiacs were and sat on our bottoms and slid down the snow and ice onto the rocky beach.  It was only for a few feet but a much safer way of getting down.

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The zodiac had a bit of trouble starting because it had ice around the propellor but once that was scooped away, we were on our way back to the ship.  We had our backs to the spray and wind and our clothes got a bit wet but they are so excellently water proof, we didn't feel a thing.

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We had lunch with Jeanette and then attended a briefing about Port Lockrey.  Time for a quick rest before donning all the gear again for our visit to Port Lockrey.  Port Lockrey is a tiny island, only as big as a football field and is manned during the summer only.  It has a museum and a post office.  During the winter it is left unattended and also unlocked, just in case someone needs to shelter there.

Scenic think of everything - using zodiacs to push the ice bergs out of our way!

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As we boarded the zodiac it started to snow and snowed gently the whole time we were there.  It wasn't very cold at all.  Port Lockrey is a Gentu penguin rookery and there were lots of babies there, moulting.

This little fella got up close and personal with Phil!

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We looked through the museum and went into the gift shop and bought a fridge magnet and a christmas tree decoration.  They were a bit expensive - $5 for the fridge magnet and $15 for the christmas tree decoration, but most of the money goes into research and maintaining Port Lockrey.

All too soon it was time to board the zodiac to come back to the ship.  At least the ride over and back was a lot calmer than this morning!

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This is the rigermarole we have to go through on returning to the ship - decontaminating our boots and a very helpful aide for getting our boots off.  We have so many clothes on, it is hard to bend over.

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We set sail at about 6.30 pm and at 5.00 am tomorrow morning we will enter the Antarctic Circle.  This doesn't happen very often so we are very lucky.

We have decided to eat in tonight and what a great choice that was!  We started sailing at quite a fast pace and it was rolling and heaving and so was my stomach.  Yes, you guessed it - after surviving the Drake Passage, I succumbed very badly when we sailed out of the Neumayer Channel into the open sea!  I won't go into the gorey details, suffice to say I made two very hurried visits to the bathroom basin.  I missed dinner completely after Baptiste had set the table so beautifully.

I was very glad to finally fall asleep.

This is the view of the hallway when everyone has come back to the ship after being ashore.

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Posted by gaddingabout 10:41 Archived in Antarctica

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