Day 8 snapshots

It is Saturday, February 4, 2006.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

wandering albatross

This is the second day in crossing the Drake Passage. The sea continues as choppy. It could be worse. We've been learning about the flora and fauna of Antarctica and so we are beginning to be able to identify some birds. This seems to be a Wandering Albatross though we are only beginning to to make identifications.

first sighted icebergs

I mentioned previously that there was a contest to guess when we would sight the first ice berg. We were quite far off—by six hours or so. It turned out that the first one was actually two. These are probably three miles distant off the starboard bow. Being that distance away, you will have to guess how large they are—probably each twice the size of a city block. A few hours later we first sighted land, one of the South Shetland Islands.

whale vertebra

We made our first stop in the South Shetland Islands, specifically on Aitcho Island. (Think H.O. with a British accent.) Aitcho Island was used as a whaling station. Whales would be killed and brought into the harbor here and rendered into oil. The oil would then be shipped back to Great Britain. Even though the island has been cleaned up since it was a whaling station, there are still many bones lying about.

The core of this vertebrae is probably 18" in diameter.

elephant seals

The island is prolific with wildlife. Here, we got our first introduction to some of the animals. Here you can see three female elephant seals. Two seem to be having a discussion while a third basks in the sun.

Also on the island were quite a few penguin colonies. Most of them were Gentoo penguins, while there were also groups of Adelie. On the other side of the island from our landing position was a male elephant seal and a harem of about half a dozen females. On the same beach was a lone fur seal and a few Adelie penguins. When the elephant seals open their mouths to yawn or bellow, they reveal an amazingly beautiful bright pink interior.

[ Previous ] [ Next ] [ Home ]