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Tag Archives: Antarctic Shag
Just five minutes ago I was on the foredeck of the Akademic Ioffe watching two humpback whales slowly cross the bow of the ship against an incredible sunset with icebergs dancing on the horizon still catching the last rays of the sun. A spectacular evening in the Antarctic Sound. To turn back the clock to the other end of the day, we woke this morning drifting off Paulet Island which is home to between 60-100.000 pairs of Adelie Penguins. A bit of an uncertain figure since the penguins in this region have been declining lately, but regardless of a downward trajectory in the population, the beach and island is certainly a surging mass of penguins all busily going to and fro from the sea to feed their half grown chicks which add to the loud chorus of a penguin colony. Beside the penguins is a large colony of Blue Eye Shag which add their own distinctive brand of noise and also their own odour to assault the nose… this many birds in a small space certainly has its own distinctive aroma. The morning excursion was followed up by a zodiac cruise amidst icebergs where three species of seal where spotted as well as a lot more penguins and the elusive snow petrels wheeling amidst the towering bergs. But of course the highlight of the day was hamburgers for lunch. Not often we get hamburgers aboard…
Overnight we steamed across the Bransfield Strait while a party raged in the bar … but there were a few sore heads in the morning! No worries though, remarkable how a quick dip in Antarctic water clears the head. First stop of the day was Deception island where we wandered around the ruins of the British Antarctic Survey base and a few more adventurous types braved the water for 10 seconds of fame and a photograph. Then half moon which is a standard stop but very nice – also got there at low tide which means you can cross the flooded spit of land that is separated from the main island at high tide … doesn’t happen often but if you get across there is a colony of Blue Eyed shag that is pretty cool. Now we are battening down the hatches for the mighty Drake!