The waters are completely calm, the ship glides like a raft in oil.
The dream comes true ... Antarctica
Sunday, December 6
6'07, a few km from the Antarctic Peninsula
At 56º 59 'W, 63º 10' S
You can see the heads of people who have spent two bad days and other travelers that I have not talked about and we know each other as if we were intimate for a lifetime, Luziana, Koen, a Portuguese girl (the only one), Christian, ... Those of us who don't fail are the Spaniards, Angela, Josep, Manel ... all standing from the start.
Icebergs of all sizes and sizes are observed. From icebergs with perfect cube shapes, to indescribable figures, bluish, dark colors ... hundreds of birds, penguins on some of the drifting pieces or jumping in the waters next to the ship. Now, for the first time, I realize that Antarctica is the only free ecosystem of the devastating effects of man's hand. Its air is the cleanest on earth and its waters and skies the most blue and its animals the most confident.
I will have a strong breakfast. The "landing" is announced for 9:30. We will touch the peninsula for the first time.
First contact with Antarctica
Sunday, December 6
12'33, Brown Bluff
At 56º 53 'W, 69º 30' S
I don't know where to start ... how to describe it. Here we are mere spectators. It is the penguins that observe us as if they had released us in a zoo. They are free and we respectful.
The protocol of Molchanov staff is very strict. No cigarettes, Antarctica is a continent without smoke, no waste, strict boots cleaning, orderly descent to the boats and heading to the Peninsula. Our first "landing" will place us in the Strait of Antartic Sound, in a place called Brown bluff, a kind of "Antarctic beach" where colonies of Adelie and Gentoo penguins (the Linux) live.
The sun seems to have agreed to receive us. The temperature is perfect, even higher than 0ºC. There is hardly any wind. The landing seems very simple and is done in groups of 10 people. Before doing so you turn your assigned number and turn it OFF, to know you're out. Josep, who considers that 22 is his number, knows that this is his trip, because of 60 numbers he has touched exactly his.
Upon arrival at the beach, you feel observed. Hundreds of penguins make their lives calm and placid. There are some laying eggs, while the male brings stones from the beach, others simply run side by side with "open arms." They are funny "characters". As if it were battery-powered toys. It makes you want to catch them and punch them out. Obviously we stay on the sidelines, about 5 meters, but it is inevitable that they will approach you. Then, we stand still and watch how they play with us or how they watch us. They watch, "they sing", they line up "Indian" as if a little boss told them where to go.
Angela as soon as she set foot on earth has begun to cry, but to cry literally. And is not for less. It makes you want to do it. I doubt there is anything on this planet so authentic, so free from the hand of man.
This area of the peninsula is a kind of ancient extinct volcano. The rocks that emerge among the snow say so. We are also in a kind of bay surrounded by icebergs, icebergs and glaciers, of all kinds of colors. We climb from the beach and keep watching. Occasionally some penguins pass between us. We stop and let them pass. Here they send.
The Gentoo penguins (the Linux thing) have a black head and are the funniest. The Adelie They have a kind of white mark on the head and are somewhat more stretched. Both live together with all kinds of birds, in this area. Occasionally, one of them comes out with an egg in its mouth. It is that of a penguin that has been neglected. Here too nature is cruel to the weak. A pity ...
However, it seems incredible that "something" to "someone" can survive such adverse conditions, and they do. They are incredible beings. And they are there ... almost touching us ...
The challenge of the icy seas of Antarctica
Sunday, December 6
The 16'15, Weddell Sea, heading to Dundee Island
At 56º 40 'W, 63º 25' S
I think we've eaten, haha. I say it because almost with the emotion we have not been able to stop the experience. We see how the ship makes more than one advent to be able to leave from where we had landed that it has now filled with ice.
Some tension is breathed in the command post. Not long ago another expedition ship with scientists on board was blocked several days in an ice sheet until the nearest icebreaker (6 days) was able to rescue them. That ship was more powerful than Professor Molchanov.
News!!! Through the speakers On our way to Dundee Island have observed an area of Weddell seals and we will try to approach very slowly among the ice. Great! We almost touched her. There it is, all "scattered," as if sunbathing. Although they are really known for reaching 700 m submerged and hold their breath for up to 80 minutes. If ... there are very rare bugs here. We reach the humans, haha ... Soon we see another few, it is full. They are no longer announced.
No 2 trips are the same. Here everything is improvised according to the conditions. As they are complicated now, and we are slower than expected, they have advanced dinner at 18'00. Finally we announce the feared. The Weddell Sea is very dangerous and the captain has decided to go to calmer waters, on the other side of the Peninsula. The Weddell Sea is a large portion of the Arctic Ocean (about 2.8 million km2) along the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula heavily influenced by the Larsen Ice Barrier, which collapses very rapidly in recent years.
It is famous especially for the famous Shackleton expedition, which we will tell you about ... an epic. Although before finishing, a beautiful day farewell is to observe the incredible icebergs floating on the icy waters of this area of the planet ...
We say goodbye from the icy waters of the Antarctic, and now if, without program or predefined destinations, just to adventure ...
Isaac from Antarctic waters (Antarctica)