Kodak Gap, Agfa Alley, Fuji Funnel, it’s all the same!
Sunrise finds us up and excited for this morning’s newest adventure. The sky is ablaze and on fire with hues of yellows, oranges, reds, golds & splashes of blue! Of all sunrises I have ever seen, this is the ultimate best. It doesn’t matter that I only went to bed a few hours ago, I am wide awake! The below freezing temperatures, daunting as they may be, don’t even phase me. Appropriately bundled up as we have been conditioned to do every day, my cameras have died and arrived in camera heaven!
We are going to sail through the most photogenic place in the Antarctic Peninsula! This morning we’re going through the “Lemaire Channel”, also known as Kodak Gap, Fuji Funnel and Agfa Alley all at the same time! This place is no less than eye candy for the soul. If you can’t see the amazing beauty of this place, then you must not be alive!
Sunrise on mountain peaks, perfectly calm water like a glassy lake, reflections everywhere you look, a virtual paradise for a photographer! The crew lets us onto the front bow of the ship, a place that so far has been off limits to passengers. We all happily mill around the bow and find our own best photo spots and camera shutters are all working overtime! Sunrise continues for hours as we marvel at the landscape.
The ship set anchor in Port Charcot and Pleneau Bay and we suit up for another excursion. I opt for the zodiacs today and Elee joins her usual group in the kayaks. Armed with my big rig cameras, this iceberg gallery full of large tabular icebergs and older, sculpted glacial icebergs have run aground. We see some remnants of an expedition from 1904 that created the name of this place.
Both Gentoo Penguins and Chinstraps abide here. We cruise around in this magical, smooth water bay with reflections that create astounding photos. We eventually land on the island and walk among the penguins and I find a spot to sit on a rock and I wait only a short time before a couple of Gentoos waddle over and get curious about me. They pose for my cameras and we have a wonderful time visiting with each other. After a bit of a visit, I walk off and find a rock hill where I see the only Adelie Penguin that our entire expedition sees this entire trip. It is amazing that this Adelie Penguin proceeds to attack a Scua, a bird that feeds on Penguins. The Adelie successfully scares off the Scua and life is good.
Much too soon, our excursion is over and we climb back in the zodiacs and head back to the ship. It is still morning and it seems we have been active all day!
We hear the announcement that there will be a BBQ out on deck for lunch today. It is cold, but not uncomfortable in our excursion jackets and hats. The weather is actually balmy and the crew is setting up with BBQ’s, hot trays and a spread of food that amazes! We even see Antarctic Pig! A joke that has gone around since the beginning of our trip amid stories of pigs that some explorer brought here a hundred years ago but they didn’t survive. But all the excursions that come down here, somehow have it for at least one meal.
An afternoon trip back through the Lemaire Channel gives us a different perspective during the heart of the day and we revel again in how still the water here is.
We realize our trip is waning but we are happy. Our trip has been a grand success so far even with our evacuation delay. We all party on the ship as it gets underway to head home. The crew entertains us in the lounge with stories and skits and regales us with their own private memories. A version of Antarctic Jeopardy takes place in the lounge and a good time is had by all. Hours later, we retire for the evening.