Today we made landings on two islands with penguin colonies. In the morning, we visited Petermann Island, discovered by Eduard Dallman, a German whaling captain who was the first to navigate Antarctic waters under the German flag. We enjoyed incredible views of the surrounding landscape with nesting gentoo and Adelie penguins all around. Blue-eyed shags and brown skuas nested on the rocks.
In the afternoon, we went ashore on Pleneau Island, named after Paul Pleneau, a member of Jean-Baptiste Charcot’s French expedition of 1908-1910. We enjoyed observing the nesting gentoo penguins and their rock-stealing behaviors, and we hiked up through the snow to get higher views of the massive icebergs floating in the bay.
After dinner, we had a surprise encounter with killer whales hunting penguins in the water and playing with their food. Brown skuas, a giant petrel, kelp gulls, and Wilson’s storm petrels all converged on the scene. A humpback whale surfaced right in the mix. All of this happened against the gorgeous scenery of jagged mountain peaks, glaciers, and icebergs.
We capped off the night by cruising through the Lemaire Channel, a narrow and incredibly scenic stretch between two rugged islands with towering mountain peaks and glaciers all around. What a day!