Wednesday, November 30, 2016: Antarctica-Brown Bluff-Icebergs and Penguins
Today was an interesting day in a variety of ways. Again, Antarctica showed us how quickly its weather can change. The morning started off fine with calm winds and a light snow falling. We were sitting in the middle of many icebergs and started the day with a great zodiac excursion (more on this later). To dress for this excursion requires a little effort as we were moving across the water in an open zodiac with some wind blowing and some snow falling… and WE ARE IN ANTARCTICA! So, Carol’s garments, for instance, consist of:
- Thermal underwear #1
- Thermal underwear #2
- Thermal underwear #3
- Waterproof jacket
- Life vest
- Waterproof pants
- Wool socks #1
- Wool socks #2
- Wool socks #3
- BIG rubber boots
- Gloves, Hat and Hood
So each time you go out, all this needs to go on. And, of course, it all comes back off when you get back on board. Now, this normally would not be too big of a deal, but today we got dressed to go out in the zodiac this morning and undressed again when we ended the excursion. And that’s when the dressing started to get funny. We had some soup for lunch and were getting ready to go back out for a landing this afternoon, so got all dressed up again. But the wind picked up to gale force and the snow was even heavier, so they announced that we were holding off on landings to see if the weather improved. So, off came the hat, gloves, life vest, jacket, fleece, sweater… well, you get the idea. We waited for a while and they announced we were done for the day. So off came everything and we showered and changed to spend the day on board.
A little while passed and we were cruising along, but I noticed that a number of the zodiacs had not been loaded on board, but were instead following the ship. Sure enough, we came to another location and the weather got much better. So the landings here were on again. So Carol got to start all over with the above list… Thermal underwear #1, Thermal underwear #2, Thermal underwear #3, again… you get the idea.
So we were all ready and standing out on deck to stay cool when the wind started blowing and… you guessed it. “Sorry folks, we can’t go ashore here either”. By now, we are all about rolling on the ground laughing. You really can’t predict mother nature.
But back to our morning excursion. We were out in the zodiac to view the icebergs and penguins. The color “ice blue” became very well defined today as we peered at the edges of the bergs as they went under the sea. Large and small slabs of ice floated silently by, but a faint squeaking noise could be heard. Penguins having a party! Waddling along while on a flat, floating slab of ice, hopping to the edge or falling on their bellies and sliding into the water.
Many Christmas-card worthy pictures were made of the ice flows with happy penguins partying away.