After 5 days in Antarctica, we continued our journey on day 6 along the Orleans Strait by kayaking Cierva Cove in Antarctica. It was our first really sunny day and surreal to be floating among whales and penguins.
We began following a humpback whale who was leisurely paddling through the cove.
Everywhere you turn, penguins were gracefully slicing through the frigid waters on a quest for krill.
This one almost jumped into our boat.
We were raided by a group of Vikings. Luckily they came in peace and offered hot chocolate with a splash of Jameson.
After a few hours on the water, we reembarked the ship. She’s quite photogenic, don’t you think?
We had just settled into our cabin when we heard an announcement over the speaker system “For those who want to do a polar plunge, report to the lower deck immediately“. Polar plunge, eh? What could go wrong? Well, they had a doctor on hand in case anything went awry. We had 150 people on the ship and about 20 staff — 37 of us crazy people elected to take the plunge. Don’t believe me? Here I am in action:
It was kinda like jumping into a slushie. As soon as I hit the water, every extremity froze as if to say “what the hell are you doing to me?”. Once I surfaced and made my way back to the boat, an extreme sensation of exhilaration covered my body, it was a fantastic feeling. Awaiting my return was a shot of schnapps. Ah, I can now feel my legs!
The next day, we made our way to Cuverville Island to Kayak with the penguins.
After kayaking, we had the opportunity to hike up an 800 foot mountain for better views of the island. It was a bit slippery ascending the mountain but certainly worth the effort:
On the way back down, it was even more slippery so a friend and I decided to slide down on our butts to the bottom — we were laughing and enjoying the ride.
Our next stop was Useful Island where we enjoyed beautiful icebergs illuminating blue ice.
As we were taking the zodiac around Useful Island, there was a chinstrap penguin that was following our boat yelping like crazy. Then out of nowhere, he tried to jump into our boat!
Useful Island had lots of seals, here are just a few of the seals we saw during our journey.
We were really fortunate to see killer whales (type A, B1 and B2), humpback whales, and blue whales. I’m not talking about a few whales here and there. I bet we saw over 100 whales. For me, whale watching will never be the same.
The captain said that in 40 years of visiting Antarctica, he had never seen blue whales. That’s how special it was.
Our final day of our 2,068 nautical mile journey landed us at Port Lockroy — a research station that has a working post office! We mailed a few postcards just to see how long it will take to be delivered (most likely 12 weeks).
This was an amazing journey and it tops our list of travel. I didn’t mention the 12 naturalists and scientists that accompanied us on our trip. They graciously provided presentations about their discoveries and the state of the earth. Global warming is certainly real. One of the scientists gave a compelling presentation on what could be done to curb global warming and it was enlightening.
We also had a guest speaker, Jamling Tenzing Norgay, son of the first man (Tenzing Norgay) to summit Mt. Everest. He provided an amazing presentation about his father and also shared with us his adventures (he has also summited Mt. Everest).
I’ll leave you with a video that recaps our trip, I hope you enjoyed learning more about Antarctica!