As National Geographic Resolution slowly woke up after a late night watching humpback whales engage in ‘bubble-net’ feeding next to the ship, we found ourselves still surrounded by these wonderful leviathans. We were in Marguerite Bay heading toward Pourquoi Pas Island, where we planned to make a landing soon after breakfast. The weather was quite windy along the beach with some blowing snow at first. Zodiacs were deployed with equipment and staff. The staff laid out routes to the three small Adelie penguin colonies established on the beach and to the much larger colony, situated about 400 yards inland next to a steep cliff. This colony was recently counted and proved to have a healthy body of approximately 2,300 nests.
Guests were treated to the delightful experience of spending time among the Adelies as the penguins marched to and from the colonies and the sea, moving about to get food for their chicks. Parents guarded the fluffy chicks from the skuas, their main predators. Skuas constantly cruised around the penguins, waiting for any opportunity to dart in and grab an unwary chick. Fortunately, on this occasion, the skuas weren’t successful.
The morning wore on, and the wind began to increase as did the windchill. Guests made their way to the landing site, where they took a choppy ride back to the ship.
After another splendid lunch in 270 Degrees, our on-board restaurant, National Geographic Resolution began to cruise north through Marguerite Bay. We transited along the east side of Adelaide Island towards a narrow channel known as “The Gullet.” Unfortunately, the wind strength steadily rose to gusts of 60 knots. This was no problem for the ship and its crew, but visibility dropped so much that it was impossible to see the sides of the channel.
Much buoyed by the morning’s activity, guests enjoyed a lecture on “Whales of the Antarctic” by naturalist Gillian McPherson. After this, an afternoon tea of Japanese sushi was served in the Tupaia Lounge.
Guests sat in various vantage points around the ship to watch the wild weather and the various icebergs that we passed on our way towards tomorrow morning’s adventure.