What words can possibly describe this day!
The sun was beating through our windows as we positioned ourselves by the majestic volcanic formations of Brown Bluff. Hundreds of Adelies and gentoos welcomed us from the dead calm, crystal-clear water. On shore, there were thousands more. We observed as the clumsy little figures covered in guano left their nests to go for a bath. They carefully rinsed off every little spot in the water before returning to the shore, fresh and clean. We spotted a few eggs and chicks carefully protected by their parents. From the Zodiacs, we followed the colony along its entire stretch towards a beautiful glacier front. So many shades of blue.
After an incredible morning at Brown Bluff, we made our way east towards yet another volcanic formation. At Paulet Island, we did another split landing. Ashore, an estimated 100,000 Adelie nests were scattered over the bare volcanic rocks. A fair amount of blue-eyed shags have made this little gem of an island their home. A handful of Weddell seals were hauled out along the shore, and a small hut stood as witness of the shipwreck of the Antarctic in 1903. Skuas, kelp gulls, and giant petrels patrolled the air space above our heads, and a penguin chick or two were stolen from their nests as we observed the circle of life play out. Towards the end of another stunning landing, some lucky Zodiac cruisers observed a humpback whale.
A slightly delayed cocktail hour and recap were further interrupted when the bridge suddenly sent out a call–orcas ahead! As dinner awaited us in the dining room, most of us headed straight up to the bridge and others out on deck to get a look at these magnificent creatures. A humpback whale mingled with one of several packs of orcas, and a few killer whales were busy spy hopping and reveling in the catch of the evening, Adelie penguins.
As the sun slowly retired over the horizon, we had another orca sighting. What an outstanding day!