Jan. 20, Mon.: Farthest South, Penguins, Vernadsky

Trip Start Jan 13, 2014
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15
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Trip End Jan 25, 2014


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Flag of Antarctica  ,
Monday, January 20, 2014



Monday January 20
Watch the VIDEO on the 1st image... penguins!


 
This will be our Southern-most landing of the trip.


We began the day at 7:00 am in the lounge watching our ship passing through Lamere Channel. The channel is very narrow and often filled with ice and icebergs, making passage dangerous or impossible. We were successful and it was a calm, quiet, beautiful cruise through the channel.  Soon after we anchored near the Yalour Islands.  Then breakfast was served.


There is always a morning activity and an afternoon activity. This morning we are watching adelie penguins on the Yalour Islands and in the afternoon we will visit the Verdansky Research Station and the Wordie House.


After breakfast we boarded our zodiaks and cruised through the Harbor.  We saw six Weddle seals floating on an iceberg.  We took photographs and watched them stretch and yawn.  Then we cruised around and probably saw a total of 25 or 30 more seals.  Our zodiac guide Anna said this was highly unusual to see so many seals at one place.


There are three types of penguins in this area: the Gentoo, the Chin Strap and the Adelie.  We have visited the Gentoo yesterday, today the Adelie.


We stopped on Yalour Island to see the penguins.  The rocks were very very slippery and treacherous, and hard to maneuver.  People were slipping and falling on them.  As a comment on aging, we felt very vulnerable and insecure.. falling was a big issue. They were covered with guano (poop) and moisture.   You could SMELL it as we approached the landing site from about 100 yards out!!!   The poopy rocks were very slick!!!  We went past one colony to the second, but stopped there and enjoyed watching the penguins.  Theywere quite friendly and were not threatened by humans in any way… they would run past us without even looking.  We could have watched them all day!


During lunch we passed a ship going the other way, the first one we have seen.


Our afternoon excursion was to the Wordie House, which was established in1947 and abandoned in 1953.  James Wordie was a member of the Earnest Shackleton Expedition in 1914-16.  It is located on Winter Island in the Argentine Islands.  It was reconstructed in 1996 as a museum.  We toured the museum, which at one time housed 7 people.  One room had the stove, six bunks, some chairs, the kitchen, and one wine glass. There was a toilet, but no shower. We hiked up the snowy hill behind and enjoyed the views. 


Then we went to Vernadsky station; used to be Farday owned by the British from 1947 - 1996. 
It currently belongs to Ukraine, who bought it for one pound in 1997.  That pound coin is embedded in the bar!   The station is located on Galindez Island, also in the Argentine Islands.  The “ozone layer” depletion , better known as the “ozone hole”. was first observed here.


We bought Ukraine stamps, $4.00 each to mail to the USA.  We had our passports stamped.  Then we had a shot of vodka at their  bar, only #3.00 (less than a stamp). It may be several months before our postcards reach their destinations!  We had a vodka in the beautiful bar and looked at their little gift shop. 


There are many couples involved in this industry.  The head naturalist Nigel is married to Wendy, who is coordinator of zodiaks.   Our guide today Anna is married to Andre, also on staff.  Our waitress, Daisy from the Phillipines, is married to Adrian… but he is on another ship that we passed his afternoon.  She will go with Ben, the expedition leader, over to the other ship tonight, so she can spend time with Adrian.  Ben has friends there too. 


We zodiaked home, had cocktails in the lounge,  listened to the wrap-up talk of the day.  The weather today was beautiful, and we even considered leaving out a layer tomorrow.  We stood on the bow deck and watched the scenery.  Dinner was again wonderful in the dining room.  No sea sickness today!  Off to sleep.

 

 

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