My apologies for the delay in getting this next post up –I’ve been down for the count with pneumonia for the past few weeks (and will explain why in a future post)…
January 4, 2011
Noon location weighing anchor at Cierva Cove
Position 64° 07.2′ S, 060° 58.9′ W
Air temperature 7º C/45° F
Our last day in the Antarctic, and as usual, I found myself wide awake until 3am. I finally gave in and closed my eyes, only to wake up to another round of ship’s bells and….
“Good morning, everyone. It’s six thirty. Breakfast will be served at seven.”
I groaned, rolled over with the decision to skip breakfast, and–
“Good morning again, everyone.” This time from Hannah, our expedition leader.
Which meant there was something to see. Something worth bolting out of my warm, cozy bed so that I could rush up on deck, camera in hand, snapping photos… (This round of thoughts rattled through my sleepy mind with equal parts of cynicism and fatigue).
I didn’t budge — I’m sorry, but there comes a point where a person needs sleep!
“IMMEDIATELY off our bow are a pair of humpback whales–”
“Oh, for crying out loud,” I shouted to my ceiling. Realizing just how ridiculous I was for even weighing the possibility of staying in bed with such an opportunity merely yards away from my cabin door, I jumped up. Threw on fleece pants and jacket, hat, gloves, and yes – grabbed the camera.
I took a few stills at first (note above), but then switched to video mode — this was way too magical to waste on still shots you could see anywhere and any-when. Below you’ll see four videos. The first two were taken directly off the starboard bow (that’s the right front end of the boat for you landlubbers) and then the whales swam back toward the stern (the rear). They seemed to be in no particular hurry to leave. In fact, it should be quite clear from these videos that the whales were as entertained by us as we were by them. From their body language (which included rolling over on their stomachs, flipper waves, dropping down and then popping right back up again), it was clear these magnificent beasts wanted to communicate.
Gentoo penguins at Port Lockrey
Day One – December 29, 2010
Ushuia, The Beagle Channel
Day Two – December 30, 2010
The Drake Passage & Its Avian Escorts
Day Three – December 31, 2010
Arctowksi Station – Icebergs, Penguins, Seals
Day Four – January 1, 2011
Aitcho & Deception Island – Chinstrap Penguins and Volcanoes
Day Five – January 2, 2011
The Antarctic Peninsula: The Errera Channel, Alimante Brown Station, Port Lockroy
(Blue Bergs & Glaciers. Penguin Squabbles. Crabeater, Weddell & Leopard Seals.)
Day Six – January 3, 2011
Part I: LeMaire Channel, Vernadsky Research Base, Wordie House
(Breaking Ice, Ozone Research and Vodka!)
Day Seven – January 4, 2011
Part I: Humpback Whales Ahoy!
Part II: We Almost Became Leopard Seal Bait
Day Eight – January 5, 2011
More to come…