27 Oct 2018

Expedition To Emperor Penguins by Maureen

11/16

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So our captain broke through the ice last night (or really, I think they kind of retraced our path that we used to reach our penguin destination), but the ship stopped after it got dark. I guess the full moon wasn’t providing enough light for them to continue safely. This morning, the ship began to move again, however it’s been slow going due to heavy fog. Visibility has been really low — we’ll be breaking through ice sheets and then a multi-story iceberg appears from nowhere. The tools the ship’s crew uses are good, but not fool-proof in weather like this where visibility is so key. (This includes reconnaissance by the helicopters and ice pilot.) By the time we reached Seymour Island, the veil lifted and we were in nice, clear weather again.

Top photo: example of the low visibility through the fog
Middle photo: iceberg that appeared next to us suddenly
Bottom photo: the fog cleared into another stunning day

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After lunch, the captain found us a good spot to “anchor” the ship into some fast ice so that we could go wander outside and take photos of the ship from the ice surface. It’s a nice idea, but I would have rather we used the time to go look for Antarctic critters. We saw some Adelie penguins and some seals from the ship earlier and we were close to areas that are landing spots for the other big Antarctic Peninsula expeditions. Instead, they rolled down the gangway, set up a flag for selfies, set up a rope attached to the bow for selfies with people looking like they were dragging the ship through the ice, and we took a group photo. I was told by staff that they always do this. I get it - I’m sure people appreciate it (heck, I used my flag photo as my new FB profile photo), but the day felt like a waste of precious time in Antarctica. I could have been seeing things, doing things, especially after feeling like our sea days really took over the time we had on this trip (4.5 days to the penguins, 3 days with penguins, 4 days back to Ushuaia).

Oh well.

Top photo: me with the flag
Middle photo: the ship in ice
Bottom photo: Adelie penguin (yeah! Another penguin checked off my list)