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01/01/2010

Pléneau Island / Petermann Island

With last nights celebration of the New Year fresh on our minds we stepped into 2010 under blue skies. We had cruised slowly through the night to bring us to the entrance of the Lemaire Channel for breakfast time. As we enjoyed our breakfast in the Verandah Captain Moulds and his Officers brought the Minerva through the bergy bits and brash ice scattered around the channel.

Nicknamed the “Kodak Gap” for its beauty the Lemaire Channel truly lived up to this in the beautiful morning light. Camera’s snapped away as we traversed its 11km (7m) length on route to Pléneau Island at its southern end. Here we would lower the zodiacs and head out on a zodiac tour to enjoy the morning.

Just after 0900 the Expedition Team were in the water warming their engines as we lined up on B deck for our turn to board. All around us were towering peaks, hanging glaciers and icebergs as far as the eye could see; it was going to be a great day. One by one Jannie ushered us down the gangway to our awaiting chariots.

This was Antarctica. This was what we had all envisioned as we boarded our flights back home, icebergs as big as buildings everywhere, mountain peaks vanishing into the clouds, penguins and seals abound all under a blue sky. Pulling away from the Minerva we pushed into the brash ice within minutes and approached some bergy bits along the shore to investigate the waters around them.

Crabeater and leopard seals, minke whales, gentoo penguins and skuas graced us with their presence as we toured amongst the towering bergs around us. Moving from berg to berg it was next to impossible to decide were to look and what to take a photograph of, everywhere you turned was another miraculous shape created by Mother Nature.

Back onboard the Hotel department and Galley Team had been busy setting up a BBQ on the pool deck while we were away. Our day just continued to get better as we soaked in the sun while the Minerva Quartet entertained us.

With the Expedition Team heading ashore we knew our time had come, the first zodiacs arrived along side and our afternoon began. With the sun on our faces we set off for Petermann Island and a visit to the adelie and gentoo penguin colonies. We were all excited to finally be seeing the adelie penguins. With ample time ashore we soaked it all in as it would be our last landing of our voyage. Reluctantly we made our way back to the landing site. It was time to board the zodiacs one last time and return to the Minerva. We pushed off from shore and waved goodbye to the hive of activity behind us.

With all guests and crew onboard the Minerva began to turn north and back towards the Lemaire Channel. Sailing through Dallmann Bay we soaked in the sunset and scenery one last time, once we exited Antarctica would be behind us for good. Tomorrow it would be the Drake Passage.
 

   

Early on New Year's Day, the Minerva sailed through the Lemaire Channel in stunning weather conditions!

While on a zodiac tour of Pleneau Bay, a leopard seal was seen sleeping on an ice floe.

A gorgeous iceberg with an arch was spotted on the zodiac tour.

The guests enjoyed a scrumptious barbeque lunch on the pool deck.

A pair of Adelie penguins at Petermann Island were busy courting.


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