We awoke to tabular icebergs and bright blue skies on a sunny Friday morning.
The Brown Bluff, with its 745 m high towering cliffs surrounded by glaciers creates a magnificent landscape and a very welcoming view on our arrival for our much desired continental landing. About one million years ago there was a subglacial volcanic eruption within an englacial lake that formed hyaloclastite cliffs composed of volcanic material known as “tuya.” Besides having magnificent views to unique volcanic scenery, this landing site also has penguin colonies, kelp gulls, and skuas nests.
From the sea to the top of the cliff there is a narrow pebble beach with a very busy runway that adelie and gentoo penguins use to access the seas in search of krill. Many chicks are already almost the size of their parents and running around the colony. It's the most active and entertaining time of the season, as the chicks start to explore the world around them.
Sailing along magnificent icebergs on our way out, we had more than 10 humpback whales and many big groups of penguins feeding around the ship. The millions of birds and thousands of cetaceans head down to the southern oceans for the opportunity to feed of the biggest concentration of biomass in the world, especially krill, that happens every austral summer.
On our way out the scenery was spectacular, glacier carved mountains and impressive lenticular clouds. We even found very large and considerably thick flat ice floating. We approached the ice, and with very meticulous navigation skills the caption was able to gently touch the ice. What a marvelous scenario.
After lunch we sailed along Prince Gustav Channel, a place very rarely visited by ships. This area is further south in the Weddell Sea and often blocked by ice, but having a PC5 ship and spotting some openings, we took a chance to explore it. A challenging and exciting navigation, we saw considerable-sized berg bits and growlers being pushed away by strong currents in multiple directions. Everyone had their binoculars very focused on ice movements, and all of the sudden came the announcement – “We have orcas! Orcas cruising the ice!”
We exited Prince Gustav Channel with gorgeous light and a spectacular sunset that turned the whole sky red. This was a true expedition and exploration day, reaching places that almost no one has ever been.