Another night in the Drake Passage and then we had made our way through it. Around 6:00 a.m., we passed the South Shetland Islands in the distance and continued our way south through the Bransfield Strait. In the morning, we got to see our first icebergs on the horizon. Sheri briefed us about Antarctica and biosecurity. This was followed by a session of vacuuming and disinfecting our outer gear down in basecamp.
After another delicious lunch, it was already time for our first outing on the White Continent. During lunch, the number of icebergs drifting by the windows kept increasing as we entered through Antarctic Sound into the Weddell Sea. We went ashore at Paulet Island, a small volcanic island that is normally home to 300,000 pairs of Adelie penguins. Well, it seems like we were a few days too late, as only a few scattered penguins remained. All the others had already left the island and made their way into the open ocean. But it didn’t matter. We still had a great time enjoying the scenery, the Antarctic fur seals, the cormorants, and the story of Otto Nordenskjold.
Once back on the ship, we enjoyed a wonderful Filipino dinner buffet before we headed out again. Yes, you read that correctly. We headed out again after dinner. Just as the sun was setting below the horizon, we boarded Zodiacs to explore the area around the Danger Islands. And what an adventure it was. Just getting into the Zodiacs proved a challenge due to high ocean swell, but it was totally worth it. Incredible blue, orange, purple, and pink colors filled the evening sky, and the tabular icebergs gloomed in magical white light as we cruised around them. What a spectacular experience. Getting back on the ship was yet another adventure, climbing back on via the stern. Another drink and snack in the ice lounge, and we collapsed in our beds with dreams filled with ice and magical light. Welcome to Antarctica!