Light snow fell as our Captain inched closer and closer to shore at Neko Harbor. By the time he was done with his parking job, we could have almost lowered ourselves from the bow to the beach. So close!
Neko Harbor is a favorite spot for many of us, and offers the perfect mix of penguin watching, glacial action, and spectacular views. From the lowest level, guests walked past the first part of the gentoo penguin colony. Many of the chicks were wandering around on their own, but a small number still had tiny chicks—or even eggs—which made our naturalists wonder how well they could possibly do this late in the season. Further along the trail we could admire the advancing glacier, with many towers and cracks that creaked and occasionally calved small pieces of ice. From the top of the trail, we looked down on our beloved ship (and perhaps already looked forward to lunch).
By early afternoon we had arrived at Paradise Harbour for another impressive parking job and a chance to explore the ice by Zodiac. We found two leopard seals, a crabeater seal, a minke whale, and many birds – including very curious Antarctic shags who had recently fledged. The cloud cover stayed low and the sea state calm.
Our divers made their first trip underwater and shared colorful footage with us in time for recap. Fantastic. Tonight we cross the Gerlache Strait.