Friday, December 14, 2012

Gerlache Strait

14 December 2012     7:00 AM
Peg Rees

Gerlache Strait

64 degrees 33.8 minutes South
62 degrees 36.4 minutes West

Sailed 785 since leaving Ushuaia

Sunrise 2:48 AM Sunset 23:26 PM

Water/Air Temperature +1/+1 degree Centigrade

Wind Calm

View Larger Map

We were in Whalhemnia Bay today with our first shore stop in Orne Harbor, where numerous Chinstap Penguins nest on all snow-free rock outcrops both low on the hill and at the highest reaches with long “penguin highways” touching the sky. Fifteen people out in kayaks and the rest were on shore to view the penguins and climb to the high snow-covered areas to participate in the “Orene Harbor – First Annual One Ocean Human Tobogganing World Championship.” After several thrilling heats, the sledders proclaimed the event a grand success! Those not sledding spent time walking the snow-covered ground photographing and observing penguins and enjoying the peace and quite of this beautiful harbor.
Humpback breaching.
Humpback breaching
Photo: Nick Gales

In the afternoon as we cruised through Whalhemnia Bay, whales were sighted around the ship and displaying bubble feeding, diving, tail flapping and much much more. On the Bridge of the ship as well as on the top deck and sides, we were all excitedly photographing the phenomenal display of whale behavior. The Expedition Leader said, “Put in the zodiacs and kayaks.” That command lead to our most remarkable events yet experienced and recorded. One zodiac attracted the most attention and three whales played up close and personal with the occupants. For more than 45 minutes, the whales were within arms length, around and under the little rubber boat. The photos and videos could not express the feelings of the people in the small boats. The excitement they carried back to the ship they will also will carry for the rest of their lives.

Antarctic waters are like none other.

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