Getting to Antarctica – Hand Baggage Only

Next day in Antarctica – still buzzing From sailing not only to Antarctica but as far south as the Antarctic Circle – a feat no other sailing has done all season – we got up so early and so excited, so eager to explore more of the frozen continent.

Also, since then We had finished Drake’s CrossingThis means we can stop taking seasickness tablets.

Honestly, I don’t think we really need them as much as we’ve been lucky to have Drake Lake – a time when the Drake Passage is so beautiful and serene.

As a quick reminder, the Drake Passage is the most powerful marine convergence and the most dangerous cruise in the world.

They are the ones with 12m/40ft waves, which makes sense when you realize that this is where the Pacific, Atlantic and Southern Oceans meet.

When it’s calm it’s called Drake Lake and when it’s rough and stormy it’s called Drake Shake.

We took our time to eat breakfast, which is now one of my favourites. I love the long slow breakfast.

It’s just so calming and wakes you up right.

Anyway, after breakfast, we grabbed our cameras and headed up to the deck above the ship.

The weather is a strange thing in Antarctica – one minute it’s all nice and calm and the next minute you’re in a gusty wind.

Then it switches back at a moment’s notice and you’re back to the calmest weather imaginable.

It can be said that the Le Maire channel had the strongest winds we have ever seen in all of our sailing voyages. This is not usually the case. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

The water here is protected so it is usually lake like.

It was still impressive though. Especially those huge mountains!

When you think of Antarctica, or at least when we did, we usually think of vast expanses of flat ice and not giant mountains, so it was a bit mind-boggling.

Fun fact, these mountains were actually part of the Andes when Antarctica was still connected to South America, which is why they are called Antarctica.

After the Lemaire channel, we went to the port of Nikko, where the wind had just cleared and the water was completely calm. It was absolutely incredible.

Suddenly we start to discover a lot of different wild animals around us.

Seals on the ice, penguins bobbing in the water and orcas swimming casually.

We should have been more grateful that the wind had stopped because when a light breeze blew in our direction, the stench came through. Penguin poop!

It surprised us because we hadn’t fully noticed the huge penguin colony before we smelled it.

At that point the captain told us to carry our zoom lenses and binoculars to spot the penguin colony in the harbour.

This is where you notice how amazing the camouflage is. From a distance it looks like nothing but as soon as I took a picture and zoomed in, we saw hundreds (easily over 1000) Gentoo penguins.

We’re sure we’ll get up close to see them before long, we ditch the binoculars and can make out with our naked eyes the penguin colonies.

The stench of penguin poop is getting really bad but you get used to it.

Also, you’re so distracted by the number of penguins in front of you that you don’t actually notice how stinky they are.

I have no idea what I was expecting at this point but when our captain announced that he would not get any closer to the penguin colonies but that we would set foot on land in Antarctica, we kind of lost it!

Finally, we can say that we have already stood on Earth in Antarctica!

For example, it was very special to see everything from the ship, but walking on land here was next level.

Again, I don’t know why I was surprised – that’s what we came here for and why we sailed so many days to get here. I guess I was expecting it to happen on a different day or something.

Anyway, we got our gear and got dressed and boated the Zodiac to Nikko Harbour. Again, like the day before when we went to explore Antarctica via zodiac boats (which are small inflatable boats), we had to decontaminate beforehand.

The garments are all put together on board a few days in advance if they are not brand new.

And don’t worry, the crew here helps you do that so you don’t need to know how to disinfect them beforehand.

After major decontamination, the shoes you wear will go ashore and your shoes will be given to you by the ship’s crew after you arrive. These shoes are washed every time you enter or leave the ship.

Getting to Antarctica

You also get a parka from your expedition that you can keep. Boots But you have to come back by the end of your cruise to Antarctica.

Well, until we land in Antarctica, let’s go. The plan was to first go explore on land and then go explore on a small zodiac trip around the bay.

It was everything we could hope for anymore. Penguins are very cute and very clumsy.

Nor are they overly bothered by humans. They haven’t learned to fear humans so they go about their business as usual.

They have these roads called penguin highways and you are not allowed to walk on them. You have to walk a different path.

Also, if you happen to puncture a hole in the width, which it can because the snow is so thick, you have to fill it in.

By the way, the landscaping is amazing and although it looked great on the boat; On land, the perspective is even more impressive.

I don’t remember how long we were supposed to be on land, but we certainly spent twice as long walking around the port.

They tell you when it’s time to leave and so we decided to make the most of it and make it right.

He was absolutely wonderful and an incredibly highlight of our trip.

We then went on the zodiac tour of the bay which was also amazing. The glaciers here are so huge!

Getting to Antarctica

Every so often you’d hear them stumble, and fall into the sea, creating new icebergs and that in itself was just a phenomenon.

It sounded like thunder and took us completely by surprise every time it happened.

Getting to Antarctica

By the time we started to get back on the boat the wind had picked up in the bay and we finally realized why we were told to wear waterproof pants.

As I mentioned before we were given waterproof jackets as part of the expedition so our upper halves were fine.

I wore waterproof pants on the ship, but decided to wear waterproof pants which are not the same. 😆😆

The water is like plastic, so you don’t get wet at all. It just doesn’t let any water through.

The water resistance tries to keep you from getting too wet at first (why is it ‘resistance’ and not ‘resistance’) but after it continually sprays you are totally wet.

Suffice to say, I never made that mistake again. 😆😆

Getting to Antarctica

Lloyd had waterproof pants on and was fine while leaving me running to the bathroom once we got back on board just to warm up (and also to wash off the salt water).

Getting to Antarctica

That evening we invented the “Champagne Base in Antarctica”.

Every time we go to Antarctica we have had a bottle of champagne with or after dinner to celebrate.

Getting to Antarctica

It was a poor excuse to drink champagne, but we followed it with gusto.

Getting to Antarctica

There you have it – our first day on land in Antarctica! We’ll catch you up in the next blog post as we explore more Antarctica.

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