Wednesday 14 November 2012
Highlights: Paradise Bay zodiac cruise, Visiting the Bridge, Killer Whale sighting, Enterprise Island zodiac cruise
Landing conditions meant we could not visit the Argentina base on Paradise Bay, not that the base is occupied yet. We did however get to go on a 1.5 hour zodiac cruise in rougher conditions than yesterday.
As the original plan was to then go on the land I had put on extra socks (now three pairs). Despite this precaution the colder conditions meant I was looking forward to getting back to the ship at the end. Who knows if I would have survived another 1.5 hours walking through snow on land ;). I was glad I had waterproof cloths as I got sprayed with the ocean a few times sitting at the front of the zodiac.
Since I was in the first group on returning to the ship I had some free time. During this time the captain decided to put us directly in front of an iceberg, amazing seeing the iceberg right in front of the ship. I took this opportunity to visit the bridge and watch all the action. It is a very happening place, lots of equipment and they also do visual checks, or at least they do when an iceberg is within 5 metres of the boat!
On the way to our next stop we spotted a Killer Whale (more accurately called Orcas). Passengers literally run from their rooms, some in pyjamas, in the freezing cold. The whale circled our ship for a long time, long enough to let me get a photo. Orcas are for the most part solitary creatures and big hunters.
In the afternoon we had another zodiac cruise this time around Enterprise Island. Here we visited the wreck of an old whaling ship with only a small proportion still viewable. The ship caught fire and was abandon on the shore of the island. Years have slowly claimed most of the ship under water and ice. Penguin and shags have now made this ship, at least the exposed parts, home turning it from a killing vessel into a breeding home.
The cruise also allowed us to view some seals resting on the ice, seemingly enjoying life. This was the calmest zodiac ride of the trip. The zodiac drivers always have lots of facts mixed with interesting and funny stories.
During the night they ran a contest called “Antarctica Bluff” but I decided to skip this particular event. I did however join Andreas, Ben, Vera and Ben in the Polar Bar for a few drinks and one game of “Kings”. I won / lost and had to scull the glass of mixed drinks in the centre of the table. One of the passengers started singing some blues songs, she was very good.