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Monday, March 28, 2011

Antarctica, Our First Zodiac Tour

 

If our tour only involved drifting around for three hours I would have been happy. The scenery alone speaks volume to nature's fantastic beauty here. However, today we have a little icing on the cake as our zodiac driver is none other than Lynn our Expedition Leader.

 

Other Zodiac I am sure the passengers on the other zodiacs feel just as fortunate.

Quark has put together a great group of people for this expedition.

 

 

 

 

 

Weird Shape Iceberg

 

 

Leaving the Ioffe behind we are soon having close up encounters with weird shaped but spectacular icebergs.

 

 

Red Buildings Next a landscape dotted with red square one story buildings comes into sight.

We are looking at an unoccupied Argentina scientific station.

 

 

 

 

Antarctic Green In areas where the snow has melted, vegetation has started to grow. Gentoo penguins and gulls find refuge in these areas that are signs of the coming Spring and Summer.

 

 

This refuge can be welcoming especially for baby penguins as we are told at one time seventeen of them where discovered in the stomach of a seal.

 

 

Tranquil Waters As we venture inside of Nicholas Bay the water becomes tranquil and smooth as glass.

 

 

 

 

The surrounding snow covered mountains and glaciers reflect peacefully on the unbroken water surface. Penguins and seals enjoy the afternoon on floating icebergs, mostly undisturbed by our presence.

 

 

Leo Seal Relaxing Seal

 

Later we come across an iceberg so huge it seems stuck in the bay. Above the surface it is bright white with areas of dazzling blues and a pillar of ice that reaches skyward. At some point, this iceberg will reshape itself and may be liberated once it is broken down into smaller pieces.

 

 

Field Of Ice Nicholas Bay Leaving the stranded iceberg , we approach a towering glacier.

Here the sea becomes covered with pieces of floating ice.

 

 

At one point we are fortunate to witness a section of one glacier fall into the sea. Minutes later while drifting encompassed by ice we experience a gentle rolling motion beneath us from the fallen glacier.

Although there are other zodiacs around we seem to be in our own world. One that I am thoroughly enjoying and reluctant to leave. The time passes too quickly and soon we are back in queue to board the Ioffe.

 

Ioffe Nicholas Harbor The routine has become standard.

It does not take long before the Ioffe is sailing us to our next Antarctic adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

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