On our morning zodiac tour at Enterprise Island, there were incredible icebergs!
A group of intrepid guests pose in front of a massive glacier while on the morning zodiac tour.
A sleeping leopard seal belies it’s power as one of the top Antarctic predators!
The weather was perfect as we visited the Argentinean station Almirante Brown in Paradise Bay this afternoon.
Guests had a blast sliding in the snow, down the mountain behind Almirante Brown Station.
Enterprise Island, Paradise Bay
This morning, Le Boreal arrived off of Wilhelmina Bay under perfect conditions, with the mountains of the Antarctic Peninsula rising to 4,000 feet out of the sea on our port side. We boarded the zodiacs to explore Enterprise Island and the small islets surrounding it.
The wreck of the Guvernøren, a whaling factory ship that caught fire in 1915, was beached in a small cove. To contrast this hulk was a modern yacht, moored alongside the wreck probably sleeping away the morning after dealing with the same storm we dealt with yesterday, but in a much more intimate craft. Perched on top of the rusty wreck were a handful of Antarctic terns, their red beaks and feet contrasting strongly to the whites and blues of the landscape around them.
Some of us came across a couple seals on our exploration of the area. One was a leopard seal, lounging peacefully on a small ice flow. When seen at such a close distance, the tremendous size, massive jaw, and serpentine head of this creature were awe inspiring to say the least. A crabeater seal was spotted by some as well. Its name is a misnomer of course, since 98% of its diet is in fact krill.
Once back on the ship, we bundled up and ate lunch outside under brilliant sunshine. Mount Français, the highest peak on Anvers Island at 2760metres (9052 feet), towered over the Gerlache Strait, and several humpback whales fluked for those of us braving the wind on the fore deck. Captain Jean-Philippe Lemaire brought Le Boreal through the passage between Lemaire Island and Bryde Island, and into the shelter of Paradise Bay. Before we knew it, we had arrived and we soon found ourselves speeding ashore in a zodiac.
We landed at Argentina's Almirante Brown station, which is situated on the mainland of the Antarctic Peninsula. As our feet planted themselves firmly on the Antarctic continent itself, many of us realized that we had reached the milestone of having set foot on all seven continents. We made our way up some steep stairs cut into the extremely deep snow by Assistant Expedition Leader Marco Favero. The amount of snow was impressive, and soon we were up on top of it and next to the bright orange buildings of the station. Nesting gentoo penguins were scattered all around the buildings, while snowy sheathbills were busily running around between the nests picking through the guano.
We followed the boot-packed trail further across the snowfield. We were ready to lose our parkas as we overheated on the steep trek up the snowy slope to the top, where the view was superb. The slide down the winding track through the snow was exhilarating, and many of us found ourselves trekking back up just so we could do it again.
Afterwards, we boarded the zodiacs for a short tour of the bay. There must have been some recent glacial calving activity as there were patches of brash ice sweeping around the bay on the tide and currents. We also came across a large glacier stretching all the way down to the water, stunning blue icebergs, and a "bar boat" which supplied us with champagne to toast our continental landing.
Back on the ship, we squeezed in a quick dinner before heading outside and watching the sun slowly drop from the sky in this surreal Antarctic landscape. We found it hard to pull ourselves away from the scene, so many of us decided a cocktail in the Observation Lounge was warranted before heading off to bed.