I’m going to have to divide up the days now that we’re getting to the landings. It’s not that I have more to say, but I have way more photos to show.
On the morning of the fourth day, the boat was no longer rocking and rolling. When we woke up, there was almost no motion at all, because at some point in the night, we had dropped anchor at Cuverville Island. I got dressed and went out on deck to take it in.
It was foggy and you couldn’t see very far because of that, but you could see the crazy blue icebergs that were all around us. WE WERE HERE. This was what we had come for, why we had been willing to spend two days bobbing around the Drake Passage (calm as it was).
Breakfast was at 7am, followed immediately by our first zodiac rides to shore. For this landing, there were three options: a zodiac cruise around the bay, a landing, or a landing including a long hike. If you wanted to do the zodiac cruise or the long hike, you had to sign up on a sheet at reception so they could keep track of numbers. (We had done this the night before, after the re-cap where Alex had explained the choices.) All three of us chose to do the long hike, so after breakfast they called the long hikers first for the zodiacs, and we were off.
Laurie, the historian, led our hike (and would lead all the hikes on the other landings, as well). I was already impressed with his ability to tell a good story from his talks about the early explorers, but I did not yet know what an amazing athlete he is. I will come back to that later.
I trailed the line, because, as usual, I kept stopping to take pictures.
The kayakers on their first kayak of the trip. Kayaking cost an additional fee, and each time we did a landing, weather permitting, the kayakers went out. They always had the choice to kayak or do the landing. I considered signing up but ultimately decided I wanted to do as many landings as possible.
We were still making our way up the hill, but the higher we went, the worse the visibility, and eventually, 420 feet up, we decided to call it quits. There wasn’t much point to going on because it was hard to see anything. The hill was steep, and the guides said it was safe to slide down it if we wanted to.
Sliding down the hill on their backs! That’s my uncle going down, and Jeff getting ready to (with the blue backpack). I did not slide, since I had two cameras on me that would’ve gotten full of snow.
Once we were back down, we had some time to hang out on the pebbly beach and observe the penguins.
You can see that the guy on the right is molting. They lose all their feathers and then grow new ones, which takes about two weeks. They mostly just sit in one spot for those two weeks, conserving energy since they can’t go in the water to find food during that time.
Second-to-last zodiac heading back to the ship. I got on the last one.