This morning we crossed the Antarctic Circle, which lies at 66° 33′ S. Every place south of the circle has at least one 24 hour period of sun and one 24 hour period of darkness per year. Locations on the circle have exactly one day where the sun doesn’t set (summer solstice) and one day where the sun doesn’t rise (winter solstice) per year. The farther south you go, the more weirdo crazy days you get.
This afternoon we stopped at Neko Harbour, where we set foot on the Antarctic continent for the first time! This brings both of our continent numbers up to 6: Henry is missing Asia, and Rachel is missing Africa.
It was sunny, warm, and gorgeous. The snow was just like Seattle snow, all slushy and hard to walk up a giant hill in. For example. Check out the previous post for the reason I walked up said hill!
Totally did that today.
This morning The World cruised through Errera Channel. Here are some of the best shots we took from the helicopter deck.
Our satellite internet and phone dropped out for several hours today. So if the blog goes dark, that’s why!
We just now spotted our first tabular iceberg! Henry took this photo just as a light mantled sooty albatross flew by – nice shot!
Prior to this trip, I had no idea that there were three major definitions of Antarctica:
- Biological Antarctica: everywhere south of the convergence zone
- Political Antarctica: everywhere south of the 60th parallel
- Continental Antarctica: land connected to the the Antarctic continent
Though we’ve been in biological Antarctica for more than a week, today was our first venture into political Antarctica. After 2 full days at sea, we finally made a stop at Elephant Island this morning. We got into the zodiacs and took a cruise around the area (there was nowhere to land). All of the ice made it a bumpy ride!
We still haven’t reached continental Antarctica, but hopefully we will by tomorrow.
Henry took these during our zodiac cruise yesterday afternoon.
Today is an at sea day, and the seas have been rough. We’re very glad to be on such a large and stable ship!
This morning’s landing on Prion Island ended up being a fantastic opportunity to test the waterproofing and windproofing of our gear. There were high winds and hail on the island, and on the zodiac rides from the ship there was all that plus icy splashes of seawater.
We’re happy to report that our gear kept us warm, dry, and well protected. We even saw the nesting Wandering Albatrosses we were seeking, and managed to get a couple of pictures. You’ll notice there’s water on the lens in almost every shot, though!
Clips from Fortuna Bay and Stromness. The pups featured are all about 2-4 weeks old. SO CUTE.
This afternoon we landed at another abandoned whaling facility, but this one looked like there had just been a torrential downpour of baby fur seals. There were very curious about us, and playful, and super silly.
We’re making one more landing near South Georgia (on Prion Island) tomorrow, then setting sail for Antarctica. Hopefully we’ll stop at Orkney and Elephant islands along the way.
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