Yes, Folks, people really do this!!!
The animals in Antarctica have absolutely no fear of humans, mostly unlike animals in the rest of the world! How amazing is that? This place has been so protected and cherished over the centuries that animals no longer remember humans who slaughtered them for the fun of it! We have been shown videos of Whaler Ships that devastated the whales here back in the day and harvested their carcasses for the Blubber and other attributes. This practice was stopped almost a century ago and the whales no longer fear us.
This morning we sail through ice flows and watch as our captain expertly avoids danger. We can only imagine that some of these flows could cause massive and possible catastrophic damage to our ship, but the crew guides us through without so much as a hiccup. This is where we are impressed with the “Open Bridge” of the ship as all the passengers are invited to visit the bridge at our leisure to witness the navigation abilities of the crew. All that is asked of us is that we stay quiet and behind the crew as they do their work and perform their magic!
Everywhere in front of us are ice flows and bergs of all different sizes and the crew makes it look like childs play as the navigate through them. Our cameras snap happily away and we spot several seals and other wildlife among the flows and bergs.
On a fun note, we find the only area on the ship where smoking is allowed! Please look close at the photos!
As we walk around the ship, we come across the party deck where the crew readies us for a celebration with Mimosas! We cross the Antarctic Circle today! Elee’s first day of Official Retirement! Let the fun and celebrations begin! Mimosa’s for all as we complete a lifetime landmark.
Next, we watch crazy passengers take the “Polar Plunge”. Passengers get to put on their bathing suits and jump into the Southern Ocean South of the Antarctic Circle! A bit crazy, but a landmark for some! Elee and I ‘Opted Out’ of the Plunge, which we were told was Minus 1 Degree Celcius or 30 Degrees Farenheit!. So many of the “Plungers” couldn’t get out of the water fast enough! Others tried to swim away, but the crew ‘tethered’ each jumper so they could retrieve them quickly. The ones that wanted to swim away were the most crazy!
So on we go on this great adventure called life as we begin this new chapter called, ‘Retirement’!
Next for the afternoon, the ship sets anchor and we suit up in our dry suits for a kayak adventure. We kayak in perfect conditions South of the Antarctic Circle! We find ourselves paddling through actual brash ice and ice flows which becomes a bit of a challenge but fun nevertheless. While kayaking below the Antarctic Circle today, Zodiac boats came out to greet us and we were instructed to come together and “Raft Up”, side by side, holding each others kayak and, lo and behold, we were passed coffee cups filled with Hot Cocoa and Bailey’s Irish Cream! Such a treat while floating among the ice floes, sea ice and icebergs in the Antarctic Ocean!
Back on the ship, satiated from the days adventures, the bar and lounge are aglow with exciting conversations and libations. There is not a dull conversation to be had as we wind down and finally turn in for the evening.