Leaving Port Lockroy on our way to Neko Harbour

We had just finished our barbecue lunch and I was in my cabin uploading photos when the captain spotted Orcas and turned the boat around.  The Orcas were not black and white, but black and yellow from algae.    I took movies because it was so hard to catch them as they breached.  I'll try to isolate a few frames to add here when I get home.  Of course when the captain announced the Orcas, there was a virtual stampede to the upper deck! 

It is our last visit to the Continent of Antarctic (the only stop on the actual mainland of the continent.)  More Gentoos. Some people took a hike to the top of a snowy peak and slid down.  I didn't because I really don't like hiking on slush and ice.  We heard some avalanches.  In fact, they encouraged us to get off the shore and onto higher ground pretty quickly because they said that when there's an avalanche, the zodiac can end up out of the water and up on the hill.

It is a balmy 40+ degrees and the penguins are quite overheated. The ones tending to chicks have to keep standing but their arms are extended away from their sides and they are panting. the other penguins are cooling off by lying on the snow


Whew - what a heat wave!


We're in a beautiful cover with lots of floating iceberg and listening as avalanches boom off the mountain side


Rookery overlooking bay and snow covered peaks


Gentoos are tending to chicks. Skuas are always on the prowl.  They never go away hungry so all chicks are vulnerable.  Sometimes one Skua will pull the tale of a parent which makes them stand up straight, while the other snatches the chick from the front.  So mean.

I just sat on a rock and enjoyed my last day in Antarctica basking in the sun and taking in the local icebergs.


Like a futuristic city of ice

Tonight was the 65th birthday of our new friend, Ellen. We had a lovely dinner together with many new friends.  Dinner was not particularly good tonight, but it was the company that was important.  We exchanged email addresses so we can keep in touch.  After dinner (which ended around 10 pm) we stayed up to watch the sunset.  During dinner, our sister ship, L'Astral, (a duplicate of our ship) passed and we travelled together for a brief time.  The crews greeted each other enthusiastically!  


Sistesr Ellen (left) and Mimi. Ellen is the birthday girl!


Sunset in Antarctica




To pink


Cute clouds, got this picture trying to locate whales which did eventually surface.

We are on our way to Drake passage which is notoriously rough.  The captain said that conditions looked good but we should batten down the hatches anyway, which, in our case, means taking anti-seasick measures, taking all your bottles and assorted stuff that is currently on shelves and put them in drawers or somewhere secure.  

Our captain, Etienne Garcia, is just great - he stops every time he sees a whale and will turn the ship around so everyone can get a good view.  He just stopped the ship, so of course, we all know there is a whale or two around.  And there are. (Usually he anounces the whales and tells us where to find them.  However, it is late and he didn't want to awaken sleeping guests.) I took a movie from which I will  extract a frame to put in this blog.  There were two  whales and it was as if they were putting on a syncronized swimming show.  Very cool.

We will be at sea for two days and land back in Ushuaia on Friday night (the 18th.) We disembark at 8:30am on the 19th. Tomorrow night is the special farewell dinner.  Rumor has it we'll be eating lobster - yum!

© Bts arbara Sevde 2012