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Category Archives: Cierva Cove
The highlight of today was a zodiac cruise in Cierva Cove. Started off in windy weather with a decent surge and I admit that it looked to be an uninspiring cruise with no wildlife despite the amazing scenery of glaciers and sheer cliffs covered with moss (a feature which has warranted special area status for the region).
But within ten minutes of leaving the ship I discovered a humpback whale cruising amidst the iceberg. What followed was 15 minutes of excitement as the whale breached and played within 15 meters of the zodiac. Pretty heady stuff, but eventually I decided to leave the whale to its own devises and find out what else the area had to offer. Ten minutes later I was sidled up to a leopard seal pup on an ice flow and watched as it yawned and slipped silently into the mess of brash ice covering the water. Apparently the pup was a little concerned by the ominous black zodiac checking it out and communicated the fact to his mum who promptly turned up and put on a show as she circled the zodiac and swam beneath us to see exactly what was threatening her young pup, Absolutely amazing to see these graceful predators up close and see the elegance of these killers swimming through the icy waters.
These highlights were followed with more fantastic Antarctic wildlife. Penguins porpoising and flying rocketing out of the water to land on icebergs … or occasionally to miss their mark and ricochet of the ice and back into the water. Groups of crabeater and weddell seals lounging on icebergs. Wilsons storm petrels skimming small crustaceans off the surface of the water … and many more of the sights that make the Antarctic one on the most spectacular wildernesses on the planet.
Definitely a good day….
Whenever we see a humpback whale the call goes out on the radio that a “Hotel Bravo” has been spotted and today there were calls of this nature continuously. We pulled into Cierva Cove after a morning watching glaciers calving in Curtis Bay and immediately there where whales on all sides. We bided our time for the first hour or so watching the huge animals bubble net feeding off the side of the boat before finally slinging the zodiacs over the side to get amongst them … actually watching from the ship itself is pretty spectacular and you can see the bubbles emerging from the deep and the whales swim in synchrony towards the surface exhaling before lunging through the trapped krill with mouths agape. But being on the water with them in small boats is something special. The sound of a whale exhaling and the wet pungent whale snot settling on your amazed face is truly a special experience. It’s definitely getting towards the time of the season when whales are congregating so I look forward to more whale action over the next few trips. Always good to visit the Hotel Bravo.
Just 5 days since we were last in Antartcica but it is a different world. Where last time it was grey windy and waves crashed on the black shore this time the sky is a vivid blue dome covering a crystal clear sea – the ice is a brilliant white suffused with every shade of blue ever conceived. Days like these make Antarctica splendid. The highlight? Today it had to be lying on my stomach in the snow with the sun beating upon my back while I watched carving glaciers crash into the sea over the Weddel seals on the ice in front of me… or maybe cruising through a million sculpted icebergs in Cierva Cove … the down side? Well, I won’t complain too much about sunburn …