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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 3:
by Prakash Bang, Editor in Chief
Monday, January 11th
Halfmoon Island, South Shetland Islands
Lat. 62º 36' S, Long. 59º 55' W
Morning Temp.: 3ºC
Winds: 14 knots NE
Evening Temp.: 0ºC
Winds: 5 knots W
We did really well through a rather smooth Drake Passage, and in this second morning on board, we met Marcos at the conference room to know which are the policies set by the Antarctic Treaty, the reference document for any activity in Antarctica.
After a good meal, we attended our IAATO (International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators) briefing, learning about the sensitivity of the Antarctic ecosystem and how we are to conduct landings to ensure a minimum impact. We also reviewed the Zodiac operations; how to safely enter and leave our ´taxis of the Antarctic´ and how to dress in Antarctica.
By the end of these talks Agustin told us to be ready for our first landing. A few minutes later we were landing on Halfmoon Island. This 1.25 mile (2 kilometer) long, crescent-shaped island lies in the entrance of Moon Bay between Greenwich and Livingston Islands. The island was known to sailors as early as 1821. There we had our first encounter with penguins.
The nesting Chinstraps were sitting on their eggs on the only snow free places on the island whilst some of them with their cute little chicks. The landing also gave us the opportunity to see the Antarctic Tern, Kelp Gull and Brown Skua and some "lost" Gentoo penguins that didn't seem to know very well what they were doing there, in this "Land of Chinstraps". We also saw one juvenile Elephant Seal and two Weddell seals. Later on, as we sailed, I saw a few Hump Back whales, at a distance though, breaching & feeding.
Wow, I was in the White Continent.
Antarctica is a cold desert, with snowfall equivalent to only 150 mm of water each year. This snow builds up gradually, and ice flows towards the coast as huge glaciers. In many places, these extend out over the sea as massive ice shelves.
Halfmoon Island Image Gallery Photo viewer
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