Welcome to our travel blog. We are Tabitha and Nic. In 2011 we 'retired' in our early 40s and set off to travel the world. We spent our first year in South America and have been lucky enough to make two trips to Antarctica.

Our blog is a record of our travels, thoughts and experiences. It is not a guide book, but we do include some tips and information, so we hope that you may find it useful if you are planning to visit somewhere we have been. Or you may just find it interesting as a bit of armchair travel.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Our last zodiac cruise in Antarctica

On our last day, we had planned to make a stop at another bay, but it was too windy to launch the zodiacs there, so we sailed on further.  En route, we passed through yet more great scenery, spotted a few more humpbacks, and got another tail fin shot.

Of course with my little camera it is little more than a speck in the distance, but it is still a tail.

The area that we stopped at is completely protected.  Noone other than scientists is permitted to make any landings on any part of the shore, so we just did another zodiac cruise around the bay.

The ice was fabulous.  We passed some huge bergs on the way here and there were some reasonably big ones floating in the bay.  I have included one picture that shows our ship (the smaller looking one because it is further away) and another ship near to one of the medium sized icebergs to give you some idea of the scale.

With the wind up as it was, even in the relatively calm waters here there were a couple of the smaller icebergs that were rocking in the waves and close to flipping over.

It would have been good to see one actually turn, but none did while we were there.  Probably best not to be too close anyway, as I guess they make quite a wave of their own when they do go over.

Some of the bergs had some amazing shapes and colours.  There was one that looked almost completely smooth, while another looked like someone had taken a huge knife and sliced through it repeatedly, but just leaving enough to hold it all together.  Most were a pristine looking pale powdery blue, perhaps with some veins of deep sapphire running through them, but a few were different.
One in particular was a deeper, more transparent blue with brown areas that looked like it had rolled in the dirt.  It also had a totally clear section that pointed out like a finger from one end.  Another small berg was like a curled leaf, complete with an etched pattern of veins.

One of my favourites here were a set of three, or possibly a single one with gaps, where one piece stood quite tall and looked very moody against the cloudy sky.  It had a small round hole in it which we found fascinating too.

Another was one with a really deep blue base but got lighter at the top, that seemed to have hollow funnels all through it.  It just looked stunning.
As fascinating as the ice was though, we were all pleased to spot a few more leopard seals.  The first was swimming around the ice and took little notice of us watching it.

The second was a young one, laid out on a piece of ice and was quite relaxed as we approached.

He looked at us occasionally, just to check that we weren't going to give him a problem, but appeared totally at ease with us there.

He was certainly relaxed enough to relieve himself while we watched.  And a very, very long wee it was too; we were quite surprised he didn't sink his bit of ice.
He did let us get very close indeed and it was great to be able to see his beautiful spotty markings so clearly.  He appears to have a different coloured underside, but that is just from where he had been lying on the ice.

When we moved around to the back of him, we saw that he had been fitted with a transmitter and a little blue toe tag, so he is being monitored by some scientist somewhere.  The transmitter didn't seem to bother him at all and it will fall off naturally when he moults.

Arriving back on the ship, we were greeted with a hot chocolate with rum in.  Just what we needed to round off our Antarctic cruising and warm up again for the evening sail back to the Drake Passage.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We like to hear from you too, so please leave us a message here. We are also happy to answer any questions if we can help. Comments are moderated so will not appear straight away and there could be some delay in replying if we are travelling.