Today we woke up early to the sound of National Geographic Endurance slowly maneuvering through a puzzle of moving icebergs at the southern end of the Antarctic Sound. We made our way toward Brown Bluff.
Lots of fluffy white stuff greeted us sideways, and the air temperature stayed below the freezing point. This was a “wrap up warmly” sort of landing. Large groups of porpoising penguins entertained everyone on Zodiac rides to the landing spot, where a winter wonderland greeted us. It is a spectacular sight to view thousands of Adelie penguins and a few gentoos line up by the hundreds to head out to forage in the sea. They looked a bit nervous as they passed, and rightly so. Leopard seals on penguin patrol waited along the water’s edge.
In the late afternoon, we delighted in spectacular views of killer whales as we sailed southeast of Anderson Island in the Antarctic Sound. Some lucky photographers took the chance to photograph these apex ocean predators against a stunning iceberg that sat right in front of the ship.
Our day did not end there. In the evening, we had an opportunity for Zodiac cruising to explore the coastline of Joinville Island and D’Urville Monument. We explored the edge of a beautiful glacier and spent time with a massive Adelie penguin colony of over 18,000 pairs. Such a huge colony was easy to see from the shore, up the side of a huge mountain, and right into the low clouds where they disappeared from sight.