Day 11 – Minky Whales, Humpback Whales, Iceberg Calves, oh my!!!
Stepped foot in Antarctica today!
Day 11 — Feb 25
Even though it’s summer down here, we had a snowstorm last night! But when we got up this morning there was no evidence of it! Did I dream it? I don’t have a hangover, so I’m sure I didn’t ‘drink’ it! It was a raging blizzard when I went to bed! Oh well, chalk it up to a memory!
Whale sightings galore this morning both on the ship and when we got on the zodiacs for our land excursion. As we stepped into our zodiac, a Minky Whale swan right under us! My first time ever seeing a Brown Whale! Tried to get photos but it was too elusive. Elee chose to kayak this morning and she had an amazing time also! Overviews of Portal Point were spectacular!
Stepped foot on the continent this morning in Portal Point, the entrance to Charlotte Bay on the recluse peninsula on the West Coast of Agrahamland. We are Officially in Antarctica! To date, we have only been on islands off the coast of the Continent! Had our obligatory photos taken holding the ships flag while standing on the continent. Then took a hike around the peninsula where elevations rose to a few hundred feet and overviews of the harbor and surroundings were stunning. Climbed an Ice cliff, fell on my butt (only once) on the way down (not intentional) and encountered a Snowstorm on the way back to our ship!
Suddenly, we heard a huge ‘crack’ and ‘roar’ and I spun my camera around and luckily I was already pre-focused and an iceberg in the bay was exploding and ‘calving’, or splitting in half! The ensuing ice formed a mini tidal wave that we looked down and watched wash ashore! At a couple hundred feet in elevation, we were in no danger whatsoever and we stood there mesmerized and were entertained by nature in her purest form!
After, we took a zodiac ride with Humpbacks up close and personal. The sound and sight of whales breaching is a thing of beauty. Being right there with them is magical! While riding with the whales, a snowstorm washed over us and visibility decreased to the point we could only hope our drivers knew where they were. Our driver showed us his GPS Compass and we were reassured that we were in safe hands!
Back on the ship for lunch and it’s story time again among our fellow passengers and we learn what everyone saw and experienced this morning. Warmed up again and fed, we relax for a couple hours as the ship moves to a place called Enterprise Island.
Here, we board the zodiacs again for another excursion and we quickly come across pods of whales and are treated to flukes and icebergs and more magical things! And then we come across a shipwreck that is in a calm water bay and is quite the sight. Here we come across the kayak group and my wife is able to relinquish her camera to me as it has become in her way for her part of the excursion.
Then it’s back on the ship for the evening and dinner and stories abound once more. Then into the bar and lounge for libations and camaraderie amongst our fellow passengers and new friends. Happy conversations ensue and before we know it, we are into the wee hours of the morning and tomorrow looms as a new day so we retire to our rooms.
I look out our window right before I climb into bed and there is a furious blizzard blowing by the window and everything is whiteout! Hey, I thought this was summer! But exhaustion takes over and I crawl into bed to see what awaits us in the morning!