January 27, 2018 (I think). Credit of this photo goes to Bruce Hampton.
Our first zodiac landing and, half-way through, my camera battery dies. Just flat forgot to charge it.
But Bruce came to my aid and took some wonderful pics of our first steps and sites of the Antarctica. Technically, we were on an island off the coast of the 7th Continent but it was close enough for me.
It was a morning of firsts.
Dressing for our outing, watching the Zodiac drivers scout for a landing site, getting into the Zodiac (there is a strict protocol for that), seeing penguins in the wild, and climbing in the Antarctic snow.
None of which sounds like a big deal.
But it took my breath away. It took everyone’s breath away.
I ran out of battery power and words. I just grinned and listen to the wind, the penguins and, above all, the silence. The vastness, the grandeur were more than I could absorb in one morning.
Then it was back to the boat and on to Verdansky Station. A real live, active research station currently run by the Ukranian government. We were told that the Antarctica treaties limit the number of stations and the number of people. Research data is shared by all involved with the treaty.
(That’s the same treaty that says you can’t leave anything in Antarctica when you leave. ANYTHING! So there are no facilities on any landings. Ya gotta wait til you get back to the boat.)
Back at Verdansky, we toured the facility and their “gift shop”. Then we were treated to the viewing of a King penguin. It didn’t belong this far north but there it was. On a circle of snow, isolated from the Gentoos. Why it was there or how it got there is anyone’s guess. And me with no camera and Bruce with no shot!
As interesting as the station was it could not compare to its surroundings. Whales, seals, and Gentoo penguins.
Pictures by Bruce Hampton. (I love his photographs and I thank him from the bottom of my heart!)
Oh, is that a sailing mast in that last picture?
Crossing the Drake Passage must have been a wiz-bang of a ride!
But it was back to our boat for some food, fun and the daily recap.
Tomorrow we were heading for the Antarctic Circle.