Paradise Bay lives up to its reputation for breathtaking beauty!
The hikers make their way to the top for a magnificent view
We’re now in Gentoo Penguin territory
A New Year’s Eve toast of champagne in zodiacs
We meet some feeding Orca along with their followers
Le Boreal - December 31, 2011
Paradise Harbor/Lemaire Channel, Antarctica
Temperature: 35.6˚F (2˚C)
Wind speed: none
Cloud cover: 15%
For most, when they hear the term 'paradise', it conjures up images of palm trees, white sandy beaches and lapping waves. Making sure we did not miss our entrance into our paradise, Paradise Harbor, Captain Marchesseau gave us a wake up call at 0600.
Most onboard had been waiting eagerly for this mornings landing, our first chance to set foot on the Antarctic continent. Boarding the zodiacs just on 0800 our chance had finally come. Our visit, within Paradise Harbor was to Brown Station, and Argentinean base.
Before returning to the vessel the Expedition Team took us on a quick twenty-minute zodiac tour of the harbor. Along the cliffs nested, Blue-eyed Shags and Cape Petrels while Antarctic Terns did their best to disturb the silence with their screeching calls. Pulling along side a 'stranded zodiac' we found Sally and two of the staff from the bar. With them, full glasses of Champagne for us to toast to our continental landing and the last day of 2011. A nice touch by everyone involved adding that little bit extra to a special day.
We hadn't been sailing long when Naturalist Rich Pagen came over the ships speakers system to announce hat he had spotted some Killer Whales. Approaching the area carefully, Captain Marchesseau eased Le Boreal closer and closer as the Killer Whales continued to go about their business like we weren't there. It truly was a thrill to see them; most had put them high on the list of species to see.
Being New Years Eve there was plenty planned for us onboard. Kicking it off was fellow guests and comedian Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald. He had us in tears as he went through his routine, which brought us right up to the countdown to midnight! All over the ship, the Observation Bar, the Grand Salon and even some people in the pool, 2012 arrived to great cheer.
We had experienced one of the most amazing days of our lives to send 2011 packing. We were sure tomorrow would bring 2012 in with a bang!