Friday 16 November 2012
Highlights: Sunshine, Chinstrap Penguins, Macaroni Penguins
The best weather day of the Antarctica trip. I was drawn in the first landing at Half Moon Island and experienced brilliant conditions. The sun was shining and we experienced mostly blue skies during the 2 hour visit. It was even relatively easy to walk on the snow I only occasionally had to step with the snow at knee level.
Half Moon Island is populated with a large colony of chinstrap penguins. They always look like they are sibling at you. These penguins will be starting to breed soon so some where looking for rocks to build a nest and others were waiting for more snow to fall. As a result of needing to nest off the snow they climb to incredibly high and dangerous rock faces. It’s amazing to see them climb such heights, you shouldn’t underestimate the determination of this creatures.
In one of the chinstrap penguin enclaves a sole macaroni penguin was resting. Apparently this guy got lost a few years ago and now stays with this group. He looks a little lonely as he doesn’t have a mate. We were informed this is as far south as the Macaroni penguins come but with temperature change a small group might get down here and this guy can rejoin his group.
Before boarding the zodiac to go back to the ship for the last time I got to witness a group of swimming penguins suddenly return to land. They had spotted a seal with is a predator of penguins when in the water. They actually intermix of land however getting very close.
After lunch we received a briefing that covered how we are spilt into differ groups when disembarking. It’s amazing that we are nearly at the end. This has been the most expensive tour I have ever done by far but it is really worth it.
Later in the day we entered the Drake Passage and the sea started us rocking again but nowhere as bad as the first voyage through this area. Still I was taking no chances and motion sickness tablets were back on the agenda.