Sunday, February 1, 2009

Admiralty Bay - Arctowski Station

We're still cruising the Antarctic Peninsula and it's still the 24th of January. This has been a long day and it's almost beauty overload. Even looking behind the ship where we had just been could be pretty amazing with the quick changing skies

There's also pretty impressive scenes that aren't floating by

More birds, too...

South Polar Skua

Southern Giant Petrel

It didn't really get warm, but there were a couple of times I braved not being a bandit

It didn't last long, though!

This year the ice and sea conditions allowed us to get in to Esperanza Station. This is an Argentinian research station and the area has several huge Adelie penguin colonies, identifiable by the red colouration on the side of the mountain.

After Esperanza, we contined to Admiralty Bay and another research station: Arctowski. This is a Polish station and is manned all year round. In the summer there are up to 70 people living and working here, but in winter the number drops to around 20.

While we were watching them, they were watching us!

Some of the scientists hopped a zodiak and buzzed out to our ship to give a little talk from the bridge. There is no way you'd get me on a zodiak in these conditions, even though we had only a gentle breeze today!

It's not a short journey, even though our captain pulled as close as he could

They were dressed for it and even in the relatively calm seas, they managed to get some good air a few times

On the far side of Arctowski Station - to the right as you look at the station itself - across the mouth of a bay is another stretch of beautiful ice on the mountain

To the left, leading to Arctowski Station is stretch of colourful land dotted with thousands of black and white dots against red patches. These are Adelie colonies and if you look really closely in these photos, you can see them. Gentoos and Chinstraps also have colonies around the station

It was simply freakin' freezing out on the deck, but I stacked on multiple layers and kept pretty toasty

Tomorrow is the awesome Gerlasche Strait and Newmayer Channel so get ready for more ice, mountains and penguins!

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