Our voyage through the Antarctic continues on Day 5 of my trip of a lifetime. I’m only managing a few hours of sleep each night, because I lie in fear that I’m going to miss something I will never get a chance to see again. It is truly that stunning and spectacular. With long hours of daylight, there is so much to explore and every undertaking comes with an element of surprise. You just never know what is around that next iceberg!
Cuverville Island Antarctica
On Day 5 of this unbelievable adventure, we find ourselves cruising along the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. While amazing in it itself, the day is about to get oh, so much better. We land on Cuverville Island in the morning. It not only has one of the largest Gentoo penguin populations in the peninsula, but is located along an impressive iceberg “highway” known as the Gerlach Straight.
As we head to shore in our rafts, someone shouts out, “Oh my God” and everyone looks in the direction to see a lone, 40-ton cetacean breaching right before our eyes. Not only did this humpback whale entertain us with his/her multiple breachings, but includes pectoral slaps and lots of rolling on the water’s surface. This magnificent creature was literally about 100 yards from our rafts.
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Once firmly with our feet on land, we start a hike up the mountain, but I stop not quite midway as it was getting way too icy and way too steep for me to navigate. So, I head back down to frolic among the penguins and practice my photography. The penguins are literally everywhere and in all stages of development. It’s amazing to watch a mother feeding her baby with her whole mouth covering its head, doing that food regurgitation thing. The babies are so soft and fluffy that it takes all of my willpower not to pick one up and and just rub my face in its fur.
Luckily, I’m keeping an eye out for my husband making his way down the mountain as I spot him coming down a totally different way than how he went up; on his butt. How did I spot him? The baseball cap gave him away. Due to the ice and steepness, he just felt this was the obvious choice for getting down fast and safe.
As if the morning so far wasn’t awesome enough, we are being blessed with perfectly calm waters, 45 degree weather, and bright sunshine. Everyone is unzipping their coats and taking off layers of clothes, it felt that warm. So, we are allowed to go kayaking in our inflatable paddling rafts – beats calling it a canoe! Carl and I, of course, are one of the first to get out there. We keep getting caught by a current that spins the inflatable paddling raft around. Carl yells that it only happens when I paddle, so I oblige him and stop. Hey, let him do all the hard work. I am quite content to sit back and enjoy the scenery!
Paradise Harbor Antarctica
In the afternoon, we cruise to Paradise Harbor, which is home to an abandoned Argentinian research station. It truly lives up to its name. We find ourselves in glass smooth water surrounded by castlesque glaciers, unabashedly blue skies, and a multitude of marine mammals; Leopard, Weddell, and Crab eater seals lounging on almost every iceberg.
Setting foot on the continent of Antarctic, I again, attempt to hike up the mountain only to meet the same fate. At this point I’m thinking maybe I need to adjust my exercise program when I get home. Carl, on the other hand, being the perfectly fit triathlete that he is, climbs to the top and is rewarded with a breathtaking view. He describes the ship as a mere bathtub toy from his vantage point with a spectacular landscape in all directions. He actually said he got chills and started tearing up. He just couldn’t believe the beauty. So jealous.
We then take a Zodiac ride after the hike through even more wonderfully shaped specimens of ice sculptures. As we’re tooling along, we see this Zodiac coming toward us with a guy in a Viking helmet holding up a sign. Only when it got pretty close could we see it said Hot Cocoa! There are 4 crew members, all wearing Viking helmets, handing out hot chocolate with some middle eastern liquor. So cool, fun, and much appreciated.
We get back on the ship and are heading to our room when they announce that everyone should get on deck as a surprise is awaiting us. Well, you don’t have to tell us twice as we run, not walk to the deck. Right in front of us are 4 humpback whales, doing what makes them so mesmerizing. What an end to another stupendous day. Oh, did I forget to mention that we also aw Mt. Vinson, which is the highest peak at 16,000 feet.
I have to say that what made today most special is that Carl touched down on his 7th continent. Not many people can say that, including myself, who just made it to four!
We will be anchoring overnight in Port Lockroy, a British station and will visit tomorrow. We can actually mail postcards from here, so I know what I will doing tonight when I can’t sleep…
Next Up: Port Lockroy and Booth Island
For more trips of a lifetime, be sure to check out these adventures:
An Alaskan Cruise Will Please The Whole Family
Wonders of Bali – Learning to Surf With the Pros
And don’t forget to check out my first four days of this Antarctic adventure.