Antarctica

Antarctic Peninsula, Thursday 24th February 2005

Follow the leader, Peterman Island, Antarctica

It was another busy day. I woke early to view the ice channel from the deck. As I write this in the evening with a slightly glowing face from the sun, I can hear ice scraping along the side of the boat. I did my photographic chores and saved the photos to memory fob too for extra safety. Launch to the Ukraine base station was delayed due to the intended route being blocked by ice. The Zodiac journey breaking through the ice was maybe more interesting than the base itself. We had to remove boots and warm clothes before wandering around labs, looking at the spectrometer in the loft that detects ozone, the bar where women traditionally leave their bras (characteristic of out-of-the-way places) and you could send postcards too. The next stop was Peterman Island with penguins and seals (with one different type of “Adele” penguin). The scenery was spectacular because the sky had cleared and there was sunshine and it felt warmer than a ski resort. Pablo, one of the guides, went snow-boarding down the big Antarctic slope. It was a joy to watch the penguins feed their young, rush around in trains, toboggan in the snow and dive into the water for a swim and a seal sliding down a slope. Photographic conditions were perfect and it was sunbathing weather. I visited the bridge and photographed the radar screen. The final outing of the day was a cruise around iceberg valley, with great blue colours, a taste of some icicles, and many relaxing seals as we threaded a path between bergs. I had a rare holiday snap taken of me at the helm of the small inflatable craft. All the activity built up a great and necessary appetite for the excellent dinner – the dessert had poppy seeds in it. I still felt hungry and had the cheese plate too. The position of the boat is updated on the map near reception. I feel pleasantly tired and may just review the photos of the day before falling asleep. Ice is continuing to scrape alongside the boat. My holiday is close to ending.

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