What an incredible, action-packed day!
Just after breakfast, as we sailed toward our first destination, Crystal Sound, we crossed a new southern latitude for many of us, that imaginary line at 66° 33’S - the Antarctic Circle! Some went outside for pictures as we felt that “bump” in the water! Shortly after, we reached Crystal Sound and sailed into Skog Bay, named after Lindblad’s very own, Captain Skog, who is sailing with us on this voyage. What an honor to be traveling with the legendary man himself!
We stepped off National Geographic Endurance for a Zodiac cruise through the ice, winding our way around the bay, through brash, bergy bits, growlers, and big bergs, in warm sunshine and calm seas. We found several Weddell seals lounging on the ice. As we came around a big berg, we were surprised to find Santa in a Zodiac, waiting for us with one more Christmas present, hot chocolate (with or without a splash of liquor) to warm us up.
After lunch we approached the Gullet, sailing through ice, where we found Weddell and crabeater seals and feeding humpbacks. We all came out on deck to marvel at the icy cliffs in amazement as Captain Oliver drove the ship right through the ice! We came through the narrows just in time for tea and, to our surprise, Patrick and his team had set up a barbecue and beer fest for us on deck. How many times in life do you get to put a hot dog down your gullet IN THE GULLETT?!
Just when we though the day could not get any better, the bridge team spotted orca Killer Bs, (Ecotype B1) off the starboard side and we all raced back outside! Captain Oliver brought the ship toward the pod as they swam across the bay, heading for a large leopard seal on ice! They surrounded it, spy-hopping and smashing into the sides of the floe! About 8 killer whales were now swarming the floe. Just like we’ve all seen on National Geographic, the pod began to work together, trying to create a wave big enough to wash the leopard seal off the ice! Fortunately for the leopard seal, the ice floe was too big to flip and the pod moved on. What a once in a lifetime experience!