January 25, 2013 - Half Moon Island, So. Shetland Islands
Good visibility, mostly cloudy
Wind W: E4; Sea: Slight; Air Temp. 2C (35F)
Here, I'm continuing my January journey to Antarctica.........click to enlarge, use Lightbox if you enjoy viewing pics that way.
Our 5:00 AM wake up call brought this amazing scenery..........looking from the windows of my cabin, blurry-eyed and yawning, I shivered at the cold landscape at dawn and decided yes, gotta get dressed and head for shore!
The red buildings are the Argentine Camara Station on the southwest side of the island.........we were not invited for a warming coffee!
The island, at the entrance to Moon Bay, is just 1.2 miles long and crescent-shaped, the height of the mountains on such a tiny piece of land was quite stunning. Zodiacs were soon launched, most passengers were up and raring to go.
As I was landing in the second group, I was able to get pics of the first group on shore - the glacial ice was huge with plenty of blue.
M/S Expedition anchored in Moon Bay - old wooden boat on shore where the 3,300 breeding pairs of adorable Chinstrap penguins seemed undisturbed by our sudden arrival.
Coming, going......or just dancing!!!!?
The hike up the very slippery slopes to the point where the chinstraps were feeding their chicks was well worth the effort - as always, penguins had right of way on their highway
Those amazing gigantic feet - perfect for rock climbing,
no Wellington boots required................
....and a cute tail for balance. The penguin way to go!
And go they did. Back and forth from the sea where they
fished for krill.............
.......having a bath and preen along the way to wash off
the stains from the red krill............
........then back up the slippery slope, krill in their
gullets to feed the waiting chicks.
The chicks were quite large so probably 5-6 weeks old, and
For us walking the rocky beach was a treat - besides the penguins there were fur seals.............this one napping and paying no attention to us..........
..............and impressive views showing the crisp coldness
of the ice, rocks, and sea coming together at the shoreline.
Do I look frozen? Not quite, but it was cold.
Don't forget, there's no bad weather, just the wrong clothing!
We returned to the ship mid-morning and repositioned to Deception Island for a fun afternoon of swimming - well if a Polar Plunge is your idea of fun. It wasn't part of my itinerary - although I have to admit, if I ever go back I'll do it! Don't you kick yourself when you miss out on a one-of-a-kind experience like that? Come on, haven't you ever had the hot water run out in the shower?
As you can see, I'm still trying to catch up on the remaining Antarctica posts.............a few more to go - maybe the most spectacular yet once we actually reach the Seventh Continent.