Our Antarctic Adventure – Part XI – Icebergs

Wed, Feb 11th – Elephant Island – Ha Ha

Or should I say – SURPRISE? We knew the good weather was too good to last, of course we are not complaining – too much.

Antarctic-Adventure---Icebe My plan for the early morning hours was to get up early and do our laundry. The ship is equipped with two laundry rooms and they are free, soap included! The rational for my rising early was we were told that we would arrive in the vicinity of Elephant Island around 7 AM. This would be a historical (not to miss) stop as this was the exact location where Sir Ernest began his astounding 800 mile voyage in the Caird to South Georgia. This was a trip that took him 16 days sailing, through fog and the darkness of the April nights. His navigator was only able to obtain two sextant fixes during the entire voyage. For those with an interest about his plight might want to read the book “South” by Sir Ernest. This same trip took the Prinsendam just two days, only we made it in comfort and style, where as the Caird was hardly larger than our 185 foot square stateroom. And he made it with eight members of his expedition, and they weren’t feasting on surf and turf!

Antarctic-Adventure---Pengu I did get up at 4:15, did the laundry and was all ready to share our arrival as Barbara and I took our breakfast in the Lido. SURPRISE! Heavy fog enveloped the ship, and remained with us for the next couple of hours. It was around 10:00 AM that the captain decided to head into the Bransfield Strait and set a course for the Antarctic Sound and “iceberg alley”. We sat in the Crow’s Nest and chatted with the ships Rabbi and his wife hoping the fog would lift and we would see SOMETHING. No such luck, so we headed off to get ready for lunch. We usually opt to eat in the main dining room as we are randomly seated with different couples each day. This is a particularly nice way to meet our fellow passengers and today was no exception. As we sat with two other couples, I was seated looking to port, when all at once out of the fog appeared our first sizeable iceberg of the day, and at the same instant – in the same direction – a whale spouted. Seconds later – all was gone – obscured by the fog!

Antarctic-Adventure---Chins After lunch we adjourned to the Queens lounge to attend a lecture on Penguins and their history, which lasted about an hour, and was very informative. As we exited the lounge, the other expedition speaker announced from the bridge that we were approaching a very large tabular (flattop) iceberg on our port quarter. Naturally we all rushed out into a frigid wind, improperly dressed, to see this beauty. It was so large and breathtaking, it was unbelievable. (As I write this at 4:40 PM we are passing two more huge ones) less than 30 minutes later we approached a pyramid shaped one complete with a colony of Chinstrap penguins. The pink color on the ice is “penguin poo”, colored by the krill they thrive on. I have included three pictures of this one.

We continue on our way toward “iceberg alley”. Enjoy. JWC

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