Thursday, January 21, 2010

South Shetland Islands Adventures

21 January 2010
South Shetland Islands

Early this morning, a staff scout Zodiac set shore on Barrientos Islands
in the Aitcho Islands. Boulder shaped chunks of brash ice had crowded
the shoreline thirty minutes after our ship anchored. As we surveyed the
situation at the landing site, including the sharp swells, our
expedition leader determined that it was not doable. So, the staff
returned to the ship, and we pulled anchor.

A few hours later, we had arrived at Half Moon Island. Again, the swell
looked tough. But, all of us managed the landing quite well. Here we
were able to see a noisy and boisterous Chinstrap Penguin colony. It
was raining, quite windy and cold (for the first time during our
voyage). Satisfied with great views of the penguins, we returned to the
ship for another one of Marcelo and Juans' wonderful lunches.

In the afternoon, the Captain entered Neptune's Bellows, at the entrance
to Whaler's Bay, Deception Island. We had hoped to land at Bailey Head,
but the swell made it impossible. Instead, we enjoyed a terrific ship's
cruise inside of this water-filled caldera. The geology was quite
fascinating. Finally, we departed the South Shetland Islands to begin
our crossing of the Drake Passage. All on board are well, and really,
quite giddy this evening! So, we are heading back to Ushuaia now. A
Humpback Whale just breached off the bow of our ship, our snug and cozy
home. Spirits are very high!

Chinstraps forever,
Debi Shearwater
On board Professor Multanovskiy, charter voyage

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