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Friday, March 25, 2011

Antarctica, A 3 Hour Tour, A 3 Hour Tour

 

 

Zodiac Ride As we set out on our 3 Hour Tour the weather is getting nice and I have no fear of being stranded on a deserted island.

 

 

 

There is no Skipper, Gilligan, Professor, Ginger or Mary Ann. What a shame!

 

Aussie's Peter And Sue Nonetheless, there is Aussie’s Peter and Sue, Peter from Germany, An Expedition Leader and The Bahamian too.

 

 

 

 

The weather is unbelievably warm with crystal clear rich blue skies above and calm winds. Aboard a zodiac we get close up views of icebergs and glaciers that add to our already amazing Antarctic experience.

 

 

 Towering Ice Towering Icebergs

 

 

 

Argentina StationWe are in Nicholas Bay home to one of the many scientific stations in Antarctica.

Most are active only during the Spring and Summer months.

 

Today, the absence of an Argentine flag tells us this one is currently unoccupied.

 

 

 

Face Vegetation Facial Rock Vegetation

 

 

With the warming weather isolated areas of green vegetation can be seen growing on the rocky coastline. Nearby as the snow is slowly melting, a colony of penguins have gathered on a rock soaking up a few sun ray's.

 

 

Penguins Nicholas Bay Gentoo Penguins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcoming Seal Cruising by icebergs occasionally we spot a seal or two relaxing. Often, they raise their heads to welcome us and express curiosity as we approach for a closer look.

 

 

 

 

 NH Huge Glacier Nicholas Bay Glacier

 

 

 

Nicholas Bay With the protection of surrounding mountains and towering glaciers the water becomes even calmer.

The surface produces a nice reflective view.

 

 

 

 

 

Field Of Ice Nicholas Bay Here, the zodiac glides through fields of ice that have made their way down from the hundred plus year old glaciers.

 

 

 

We are fortunate at one point to witness a piece of a glacier fall into the bay. Moments later we sense it's effect on the bay as the water takes on a gentle rolling motion. Up closer the ride would have been a little more interesting.

 

Gliding Zodiac In some areas of the bay, Lynn our zodiac driver turns off the engine and allows our boat to just drift along.

 

 

 

 

The peacefulness and arresting beauty takes my breath away. Dipping my hand in the refreshingly cold water returns my breathing as I retrieve what could be a thousand year or older piece of ice.

 

 

Nesting Bird Continuing our tour brings us along a shoreline where birds are nesting in an area with more vegetation.

 

 

 

Although the vegetation is just ground cover it adds a nice tropical mix to the surrounding scenery.

 

 

 

Awesome Iceberg Nicholas Bay As we make our way back to the Akademik Ioffe, we come within mere feet of  spectacular icebergs.

 

 

 

 

 

Towering Iceberg Towering white with awesome shapes above the water and shades of brilliant blues just beneath the surface.

 

 

 

Finding a reasonable size broken off from one of these monstrous works of nature, it is hauled into the zodiac.

Later this afternoon we will get to taste a piece of our captured treasure, complimented maybe by a fine scotch or beverage of our choosing.

 

 

Drink Ice Ice For The Drinks

 

 

Approaching the Akademik Ioffe it is hard to believe our 3 Hour Tour is over. Waiting our turn to board, I am thinking I could spend a few good months deserted here even if it is just with Thurston Howell, The Third.

 

 

 

 

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