Thursday, April 14, 2011

Antarctica, Neko Harbor Plus Special Delivery


Once again, it turns out not to be a bad deal being last in the zodiac queue. With only five of us in a zodiac with Dr. Tim, I have a feeling our tour of Neko Harbor will have a more intimate touch.



Neko Harbor Glacier Leaving the Ioffe, Dr. Tim sets out assigning everyone except me duties for our tour.

One passenger is assigned to look for “Minky Whales”.



Another passenger “Seals On Ice”, another “Snow Petrels” and another “Humpback Whales”. I am left alone to be “Video Man” although as a group we are all responsible for glacier watching.


Video Man Since the weather here can be so unpredictable every outing starts out with us dressing  for cold and wet conditions.




However, it is another afternoon where nature welcomes us with astonishing weather. The sun has warmed the air to the low 40’s and the wind on my face is refreshing as the zodiac accelerates across the harbor.

Although several zodiacs are navigating the harbor, the area is so huge that encounters are only by chance. We are drifting in one area as an oddly crewed zodiac approaches.



Special Delivery With a penguin on it's bow and two red-headed crew members on board we watch a bit surprised as it continues coming towards us.




We are in for a special treat. It's “Hot Chocolate Time”, with a touch of Tia Maria. Hard to believe life in Antarctica can get any better than this.

A quick Russian lesson by Dr. Tim as we sip hot chocolate and continue our tour. I don't think any of us are ready for diplomatic services yet but at least we know one word, “Spice e-ba”.

Thank You!



Curios Look Seal On Ice


One of our duties is filled as a “Seal On Ice” is spotted. This one is sleeping and Dr Tim turns off the zodiac motor and allows the water's current to pull us in for a closer look.

As we are watching, the seal becomes aware of our presence and gives us a curios “nice to see you to” look.


Frozen Obstacle Entering a bay closer to one of the glaciers, we are encompassed by ice.





The surface of the water beneath is barely visible and I have brief thoughts of trying the walking on water routine. I am saved from my idle thoughts by another seal basking on an iceberg.

Navigating from the frozen obstacles around us the next seal we spot reminds us that nature and life down here is not always so kind.


Crab Eater Seal A lone crab-eater seal is on an iceberg spotted with areas of blood.





This seal is having a heck of a time scratching an apparent wound and we are all sympathetic to it's plight.




Neko Harbor Neko Harbor Glacier


Our zodiac tour comes to an end but there is more of Neko Harbor to explore as we'll next make a landing here.





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