05.03.2012 - 05.03.2012 -20 °C
And so whilst Leigh slept soundly through the 14m swells, I was busy bailing the cabin out - thankfully though we passed through the rough patch around 5am this morning and are once again back to an even keel. However due to adverse weather conditions and shifting winds our initial 6am shore visit was postponed. That initial disappointment was not long lived as we were treated to a rather spectacular display from dozens of Humpback Whales (many of which had calves) which had been drawn to the area by the krill bloom which had literally turned the water pink.
Our second landing of the day took us to Danco Island in the Errera Channel. A charming little island where we had an opportunity to sit and watch some penguins against a beautiful backdrop of icebergs in the Channel. Returning to the main expedition boat Leigh almost fell out of the zodiac (small boat) in stunned surprise...Leopard Seals!!! For those of you who haven’t brushed up on your Antarctic Wildlife lately, the Leopard Seal is to the Antarctic as the Leopard is to the African Bush...beautiful yet deadly! Normally quite an elusive creature here we were presented with two less than 15 feet away. Leigh was so excited I thought she may pop!
Now try and picture the following rather surreal moment which we experience at midday.... the chef surprised us with a BBQ on the top deck! Here we are anchored up the Errera Channel on the Antarctic Peninsula surrounded by Icebergs, Humpback Whales, listening to Country & Western music and munching down beef-burgers, you couldn’t make it up – we both agreed that it’s got to be the coldest BBQ we’ve ever attended...even the cheese froze – so much for serving at room temperature ehh!
Its official...we’ve now visited all 7 continents now. Earlier this afternoon the Whelan/ Russell partnership finally landed on the Antarctic Continent (Neko Harbour in Andvord Bay)...our reception committee....2 Gentoo Penguins, and they were far from amused by the intrusion! It’s true we were hoping for a little more pomp and ceremony but it’ll have to do I suppose! As we slipped around the headland we soon saw that the party had already started as we came upon the Penguin Colony/Rookery. Being the guest of honour we settled down and spent the next few hours taking in the delightful sights and dubious smells before returning back to the boat before a baileys and hot chocolate and then bed time...what a day!