Our first landing of the voyage was on James Ross Island, part of the Antarctic Peninsula, in the Weddell Sea. Glaciers incised the island, attaching it to the peninsula by ice shelves until the mid-1990s. The island is composed of volcanic and sedimentary rock with fine glacial silt mixed in. Snow and ice cover the higher plateau areas.

Groups of hikers joined naturalists and made forays up a valley where they examined whalebones and fossils before discovering a glacial lake. Mosses and lichens added color to the brown and white landscape.

We repositioned the ship to the south and embarked on Zodiacs for tours of Cockburn Island. We enjoyed views of Adelie penguins and the nesting colonies of blue-eyed shag on the steep slopes of this volcanic island. We enjoyed beautiful weather and great photo opportunities.

We continued south in Admiralty Sound, maneuvering between icebergs and floes. Happily, we were fortunate to find a few emperor penguins in this area, as well as Weddell seals resting on ice. The light was amazing and held us in awe of this remarkable, otherworldly place – Antarctica.