Antarctica weather changes quickly during the day and today we had a perfect example how conditions vary from morning until the sun fades. Anyone awake before breakfast and still in their cabin could hear a rushing through the hull of the ship, occasionally punctuated by a bit of a soft thump from bumping into some bigger chunks. The surroundings were surreal as we were also engulfed by fog. Our planned route was to enter Charcot Bay and then toward the very end where a bay has been named for a very special pioneer of Antarctic tourism.
Lars-Eric Lindblad brought the first visitors to Antarctica in 1966. To honor his lifetime achievements in promoting responsible tourism around the world, a group of travelers petitioned the Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names to make this designation official. In 1995 a small embayment at the end of Charcot Bay became Lindblad Cove. Although the fog, snow, and dense floating ice prohibited us from getting to the end of the bay, we did enter the outer waters where Lindblad Cove is situated. Everyone on board was thrilled to watch as the ship pushed through the ice and the captain deftly maneuvered around and between the larger icebergs that had broken off the glaciers nearby.
During the middle part of the day we continued northward in the Bransfield Strait. The skies cleared and the winds calmed throughout the day. In the distance as we made our way along, large icebergs of various shapes were visible reminding us of our location in the world.
The plan had been laid to potentially go ashore in the evening after dinner. As we were finishing dinner the ship approached a tall cliff and bluff section between a couple of large glaciers appropriately called Brown Bluff. After an initial scouting by some of the staff, the announcement was made that we would be going ashore. Once on the land we could see why we made the effort for the visit. Gentoo penguins were encountered first displaying at their nest sites along the top of the beach and inland. Walking along the shore were Adelie penguins but their main nesting area was a short distance further along. As we watched the penguins the surrounding landscape was dappled in pastel colors. The almost full moon peaked from behind a light veil of clouds above.
All in all, a very surreal evening in Antarctica. Everyone fell asleep wondering what the new day might bring.