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Antarctica 2010 - Day 11

Wednesday, February 03, 2010 15:23

It's our last day in Antarctica! The campers returned at about 6am after a night on the ice. They had a beautiful sunrise to greet them this morning and all were in high spirits after a good night. The ship started sailing about 6.30 once zodiacs were loaded back on board. The morning was sunny and perfect for cruising north again.

 

The weather for the week could not have been better. This is definitely not normal for voyages down here. You can usually expect at least a couple of bad weather days and often the odd cancelled landing...but not this time...someone was looking out for us.

 

The plan was to make our way north again to the Melchior Islands which would be our last zodiac and kayak trip for the voyage :-(

 

We sailed back through the Lemaire Channel again and on through the Neumeyer Channel. The scenery was fantastic and everyone was out on deck to soak it up. It was a quick breakfast and then a return to deck to absorb more of the scenes around us.

 

We also had a chance to get a few group photos and make an attempt to commit mutiny on the ship by flying the Irish flag...you can take us nowhere!

We arrived at the Melchior Islands at about 2pm and prepared for the zodiac cruise as well as readying the kayaks. There were only 3 single kayaks heading out.

 

The afternoon was spent cruising through the narrow channels and ice cliffs which ran between the islands. There was also an Adelie Penguin colony located there and plenty of seals around including Weddell and Fur Seals, so lots to see.

We were slow to return to the ship realising that this would be our last trip and the time to make the voyage home was approaching.

 

Once everyone was onboard everything was tied down in preparation for the voyage back across the Drake. The weather forecast for the next day or so was looking good so it looked like, yet again, fate was in our favour and we would have a calm sail back to Ushuaia.

 

Dinner was served at about 7pm and we were just about to head out into the Drake again. Suddenly from the starboard side there was a shout "Whales!". From the windows we could see a group Humpback Whales about 20 metres from the ship. We were all out of our seats to look. It seemed to be a mother and calf and two others. As we passed they started to dive and displayed their flukes as they went to feed.

 

We were just back to our seats and then there was another shout, this time from the other side of the ship. More whales, another group of Humpbacks again diving. Within minutes again more whales...it was almost like Antarctica was giving us a final send off.

 

It was a very happy bunch of people that sailed out into Drake Passage to begin the voyage back to Ushuaia.

 



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