The day began in a bluster of wind as our ship entered the shelter of Monroe Island, one of many outcrops of geology hidden in the rarely traveled waters of the Southern Ocean. Setting our guests out via our fleet of Zodiacs, our natural history team navigated wind and waves to journey close to a large colony of chinstrap penguins. Known for being particular specialists at climbing, these small brushtail penguins set eyes and cameras aglow as they scaled steep icy inclines and rocks that seemed impassable. Returning to the ship for a well-prepared brunch, our guests regained their warmth with Bloody Marys, mimosas and a host of culinary choices.
The afternoon found us at Coronation Island. Taking guests ashore to hike, we arrived at yet another colony of brushtails, but this time it was the Adelie penguins that were there to enjoy. Viewing the colony up close on land provided an intimate look at how these creatures socially interact, upkeep their nests, and defend their eggs from the skyward threat of the skuas hovering above. It was truly an expeditionary day, as nothing is easily earned in the South Orkneys – a place known for its remoteness and shy shelter from the forces that the Southern Ocean sends its way. In the end though, it was all worth it as guests returned to the ship to dine and dream of what they saw, with great anticipation of the days ahead.