As we made our way to the South Shetland Islands and the Great White Continent the excitement of making our first landing in Antarctica mounted. Even the heavy fog that enveloped the ship all morning long did not quell our enthusiasm. It may have been foggy but that did not cause us to lose any time. We were due to make our first landing at Half Moon Island at 15:00!
The lecture series continued in the morning with talks on history, seals and penguins. We certainly felt well prepared for Antarctica!
As we approached Nelson Strait, our entrance to the South Shetland Islands, the fog began to lift and we caught our first glimpses of land.
And than at 14:45 the Expedition Team boarded the first Polar Cirkle boats and went ashore to prepare the landing site.
The first passengers on shore were the hikers. A lot of hikers. 78 people signed up to join the two hour trek. At 16:15 the hikers set off towards the Argentine Base Camara and continued on along the beach and up to a lofty 360˚ view of Moon Island, Livingston Island and the surrounding waters.
At the main landing site everyone was entertained by the boisterous colony of Chinstrap Penguins. There was also a Crabeater Seal and Weddell Seal which just about everyone got the opportunity to visit and photograph. Towards the end of the landing a couple of male Antarctic Fur Seals hauled out on the beach. It was quite an impressive landing for our first moments in Antarctica.
Meanwhile the Captain decided that while we were all on shore it would be a good time to run some safety drills with the ship’s life boats and the “man over board” (MOB) boat.
At around 18:30 everyone was back on the ship. We lifted anchor and set a course to take us towards Antarctic Sound and the Weddell Sea.
This was only day one of our landings. There is an entire boat load of exciting adventures yet to come!