Saturday 28 December 2019 37 °F
Alright, let’s try this again! Earlier I accidentally hit to “publish” button for this post.
Today was our final major southward movement of our journey: last night we traveled to Admiralty Bay in order to make our morning destination: Gerlache Strait and Paradise Harbor, located on the northwestern (Pacific) side of the Antarctic Peninsula. (wifi in Antarctica is very spotty and that’s why I tried to simply include the bare minimum of photos in this post. Trust me, I took SO many)
Boy is it spectacular!
I raced to the front of the ship when the captain announced that he had Orcas in front of the ship, and sure enough, I was afforded a few brief glimpses:
BROWN SKUAS were numerous this morning:
There were a few WILSON’S STORM-PETRELS along, too.
And Paradise Harbor was breathtaking.
Antarctica is essentially covered by one large glacier, and every single bit of ice & rock forming the continent is stunning. One of my favorite things is spotting the vivid blue colors that can be seen in many ice patches, partially due to minerals and partially to reflection, I believe.
One of the more common penguin species, GENTOO was around in numbers.
Then, a BLUE-EYED CORMORANT flew by!!! Awesome — life bird!!!
I spotted a few very distant ADELIE PENGUINS at one point:
And at one point, I had the three common penguin species in one view: GENTOO, CHINSTRAP, & ADELIE.
This part of Antarctica is home to both BROWN & SOUTH POLAR SKUAS, both of which were seen today, and differentiation between them can be very tricky given varying light conditions. This skua appears to be almost sand-tan which means that it is 100% SOUTH POLAR SKUA (Brown Skuas are a deep chocolate brown), so this was a great bird to see down here! The two species have even been known to hybridize in the area, too.
Oh, and did I mention that it is beautiful here?!
At least 200 Humpback Whales put on an amazing show for us mid-afternoon! It was BREATHTAKING, like nothing we’d ever seen before!
Bird-of-the-day goes to my one life bird seen today, Blue-eyed Cormorant!
Stay tuned — tomorrow the cruise heads north for a morning arrival at Deception Island, Antarctica, where I am hoping to find some Snow Petrels and other nesting birds!
World Life List: 1049 Species (1 life bird today: Blue-eyed Cormorant)