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Antarctica: The Expedition, Beagle Channel, Drake Passage, Halfmoon Island, Rocas Hydrurga with Cuverville Island, Palmer Station with Lemaire Channel & Petermann Island, Brown Station with Neko Harbor, Brown Bluff with Esperanza Station, Whalers Bay with Yankee Harbor, Drake Passage
Antarctica Expedition - Day 6:
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Thursday, January 14th
Brown Station - Skontorp Cove, Paradise Bay
Lat. 64º 53' S, Long. 62º 52' W (first continental landing)
Lat. 64º 50' S, Long. 62º 33' W (second continental landing)
Morning Temp.: 2ºC
Winds: 25 knots NNE
Evening Temp.: 1ºC
Winds: 14 knots E
It was a sunny day. A look around justified the name 'Paradise Bay'. Beautiful glaciers all around and sparkling deep blue waters do cast a spell. Passengers were divided in two groups. The first group went to the Brown Station and walked around the Island whilst the other cruised in their Zodiacs exploring Skontop Cove. After an hour, we interchanged.
I was in Group A. We climbed up the Brown Island to a higher viewpoint. Up there it was good to see, for the first time, some vegetation in shades of green, basking on the rocks. The return journey was a bit faster as we used our bums to slide down for part of the journey. Of course, the antics were carried out under strict supervision of the expedition team. Only the experts would know the safe zones. The glaciers are known to have hidden crevices.
We cruised along steep cliffs with stratified rock formations - home to blue-eyed shags and Cape Petrel nesting. The immense walls of the calving glaciers of Skontorp Cove hold a variety of icebergs. Hanging out on a few smaller icebergs were a few Weddell seals and some Crabeater seals. I was lucky to grab some pictures of what looked like Crabeater seals making love!
In the afternoon the weather was not very favourable. Nonetheless, we made our second landing at Neko Harbour, a small bay indenting the east shore of Andvord Bay, along the west coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Neko Harbor was discovered by De Gerlache's Belgian Antarctic Expedition, 1897-1899, and named after a Norwegian floating factory ship, the Neko, which operated in the South Shetlands and Antarctic Peninsula in 1911-1912 and 1923-1924.
There were many Gentoo penguins nesting around and the stunning view of the giant glaciers and icebergs around us were breathtaking. We crossed the remains of the Argentine Refuge "Felipe Fliess" (who was an officer of the Argentine vessel Uruguay on the rescue operation for the Otto Nordenskjöld's Swedish Expedition in 1903). Whilst I returned to our ship, a few enthusiasts joined Marcos on a walk uphill to get a better view. I had had enough for the day.
Late in the afternoon, Mariano gave a lecture on "Cetaceans of the Antarctic region" describing all its morphologic characteristics. Movie for the evening was 'Cassandra's dream'. I missed the movie to give me some time to download my pictures and review them. Just so you know, always carry spare batteries in colder temperatures. The chill drains out the juice quite rapidly. Also, in places like Antarctica it's good to carry more than necessary digital storage cards. One gets tempted to click more than necessary pictures. I always have my laptop with me. Download the images every evening and be ready for great next day.
Brown Station Image Gallery Photo viewer
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