15 Jan 2018 – 12AM
Today we had a packed program for the day. I was up early to watch landscape and then we had an early breakfast at 7.30 AM. The plan at 9 was to land at Cuverville Island .
This is located at the Northern entrance of the Antarctic peninsula. It is surrounded by a beautiful landscapes of glaciers and snowed mountains of Ronge island and Danco Land (Antarctic Peninsula). This island has biggest Gentoo Penguins breeding colony of the Antarctic peninsula. After spending couple of hours we left for a Zodiac cruise at Gerlache Strait. We saw lot of crab eater seals , elephant seals , birds and icebergs. After 1 hour cruise we were back in time for lunch at 12.30 .
15 Jan 2018 – 9PM
After lunch we sailed for Port Lockroy. We were supposed to be there by 15.00. I was up at the roof watching the landscape. Suddenly I saw a spray of water near the ship and then all over the place. It took a while to realise that we are in the middle of a huge pod of Orca whales. There must be at least 50 -100 of them. It was probably most stunning
wildlife encounter so far. We arrived Port Locroy at 5.30 , two hour behind schedule. This is the only station which is manned throughout summer. The center has all woman stuff from Antarctica heritage trust. It has breeding site for Gentoo penguins and also a museum and a souvenir shop. This also has world’s southernmost post office. I have sent a postcard from there.
16 Jan 2018 – 11PM
This is the third day of our exploration in western side of the peninsula. Today morning was bit cloudy , though gradually cloud cover cleared up . At 7 in the morning we started crossing Limerie channel from north to south. It is a half mile wide at its narrowest point which is clogged with ice. The view of sheer cliffs at both sides of narrow channel was beautiful and almost out of the world. It is also named as “Kodak gap” or “Fuji Channel”. This scenic channel was named by Adrien Gerlache for Jacob Lemaire a Belgian explorer.
After breakfast we landed at Petermann Island at the southern end of Limarie channel. This is farthest south we reached at 65°10.5. This is also the southern most point of nesting Gentoo Penguins. We also saw Adelie penguins , Blue-eyed shags and South polar skuas. After spending good 3 hours there it was time to come back to the ship. We had our lunch at 12 and then at 3 it was time to go out again for a zodiac cruise. It was great to spend over 1 hour cruising and observing huge icebergs in Salpetriere bay. These were huge icebergs which got eroded by water and wind over the years and formed very intricate and complicated structures.
It was so amazing and as a human being we feel so humble in front of the grandiosity of nature. Latter in the afternoon we crossed Limerie channel again this time south to north. Our aim is now to travel northwards as fast as possible and reach to the mouth Antarctica sound by midday tomorrow.