Surfing into the Shetlands

We made good speed over the Drake this time and managed to arrive in the South Shetland islands early enough today to squeeze in a quick and cheeky landing at Yankee Harbour. It’s a fantastic landing with a huge spit, which is actually the remnant of a glacial moraine wrapping around a bay flanked by a glacier. On the spit are gentoo penguins and elephant seals. The later attracted the Yankee sailors whom the bay is named for who descended upon the seals for blubber that was sold for oil. The remnants of the sealing are scattered on the beach including the rusting remains of a tripod that was once used for boiling down those seals unlucky enough to be around when the sailors where in port.

The landing was spiced up somewhat by a stiff breeze and a rolling swell that built up over the moraine causing the zodiacs to surf in over the break in the spit. Great fun, but a few of the passengers wore a somewhat grim expression as the waves crashed around us and the spray flew up into the boats… but the staff were having a ball! I was at least … or at least until one of the passengers life vests inflated. The only gallant thing to do for a guide is to sacrifice my warm floatation jacket, give it to the passenger and don the inflated collar jacket over my under coat … very wet and cold trip back to the boat… but still a lot of fun. Welcome to Antarctica!

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