Back to Day 11
Vacation 2009 Home Page
On to Day 13

Vacation Day 12
Tuesday, February 3rd
Antarctica Day 3 (Final Day)

The map above shows the area of the ships Antarctic explorations for today.

The partial square you can see in the lower left corner is the area covered by the enlarged map that you have seen on the previous Antarctic pages. Overnight we sailed out of that area and headed up to the area at the end of the topmost yellow arrow. One of the stops that is normally made on this cruise is at Deception Island. Due to the way the itinerary worked out on this trip that was not possible. As you can see, we went right past it, but that was in the middle of the night. At about 5:00AM we arrived at the end of the topmost yellow arrow and started our trip through Antarctic Sound. The next map, which is an enlarged portion of the top of the map above shows where we went from here.

The first arrow on this map is the last arrow on the map above. The group of pictures below were taken as the ship passed through the passage indicated by the second arrow. I think this is what is referred to Antarctic Sound even though it is labelled at Hope Bay on the map.

Our first view of the really big icebergs. Taken through my cabin window just after 6:00AM.
Taken a couple of minutes later.
Some scenery with icebergs in the foreground.
Here is some different scenery with the background under clouds and the foreground iceberg in the sun.
Large iceberg to the left and rocky shoreline to the right . More of this iceberg to come. Large iceberg from the previous picture much closer. In some of these pictures the background appears quite dark. I think this was/is caused by the fact that the iceberg, when it is in the sun, is very bright. It was almost too bright to look at.
This picture shows the brightness of the iceberg as well as the relative size of it to the surroundings. Another rather large iceberg. This one and the previous big one were near the shore and are probably grounded there. This one has melted more on this side and fallen sideways, thus the angle. It would have been flat on top when it originally broke away from where ever it was attached to.
There is always one character in the crowd
(or on board the ship if you prefer).
Once we passed the large flat topped one we saw this large crack. It is likely that a very big splash was soon to occur. Unfortunately it did not happen while the ship was there.
Here is another picture to try to provide some perspective of the size.
The tilted iceberg above from side on. It has definitely leaned to the right.
Here is the tilted iceberg from the back once we passed it.
A scenic shot as we passed into what is called on the map Terror Gulf. The tilted iceberg is in the middle and the large flat topped one is centre right.
More small icebergs. I believe these are called growlers. These are the type of iceberg that are most likely to cause the greatest amount of damage to a ship. Our Ice Pilot thinks that it was this type of ice that sunk the Titanic. It was just his opinion though. More ice as we passed into Terror Gulf. There is a single penguin, all by himself, near the centre of the picture.
Here are two shots one to the left of the mountain.
And this one to the right of the mountain.

Map 2-2

As we are seeing these icebergs our destination was a very small island labelled on the map above as Paulet Island. The main attraction here are more penguins and a very large nesting site (rookery). We are not there yet but just about. I mention it now because the island is most visible on this map and it is so small that it kind of disappears when I show the route the ship took around it. It should be noted that that the island is the small black dot below and slightly right of the larger island labelled Dundee Island. At this point the ship is now out in the area were the worst icebergs were located. These are on the south side of the last arrow just about where the words Terror Gulf are. This area may be well named. Here are some more pictures.

A cluster of icebergs. It may look like they are connected to the snow covered land on the right but that is actually behind them.
I believe that they told us (later) that this was the biggest iceberg we saw on the trip. I think they said it was two miles or about 3 kilometres long.
The big one with a somewhat smaller one near by.
The smaller one with many others. We did not go anywhere near these.
An artsy crafty picture of an island. This is not Paulet Island. We are not there yet.
The ship did get fairly close to some of the smaller bergs though.
This one and the one in the background show the telltale signs of having rolled over, at least part way, fairly recently.
Lots of little ones near the ship.
A couple of fairly large ones in the distance.
You would think someone had been sculpting this one.
Maybe Mother Nature has been working on it.
A couple of fairly well worn ones.
More good sized icebergs along with the inevitable walkers who were almost always walking around deck 3. (3.5 times around to the mile.)
A collection of smaller icebergs as we approach Paulet Island.
A sure sign (along with the smell) that we are nearing a penguin rookery. It looks like these penguins have been here for a while based on the colour of the snow in several spots.

Paulet Island

We have reached our goal!!!
Paulet Island.
(And it is only 9:15 AM.)
Not too impressed, eh?
Oh Well!

Now that we are finally here, the ship will make a circumnavigation of the island in the counter-clockwise direction as shown in the maple below.

Map 3

As I said before, Paulet Islands claim to fame is large numbers of penguins. I believe these are a different type than the ones on Cuvervile Island on Antarctica Day 1. Here are some pictures on these penguins.

There were penguins, in various spots, all the way up this valley.
Not too far off shore from the island was this large group of penguins on this iceberg. The water is so clear you can see the icebergs structure under the water.
More penguins on a near shore iceberg. You can see the penguin nests on the island in the background. More penguin nests. It is hard to see in this small picture but there is a group of seals or sea lions just along the beach. They are the dark group near the shore on the right side of the land area. All the other marks in the slightly red area to the left are the penguins on their nests.
Paulet Island from the opposite side than the one above. Almost all the flat areas that can be seen here, both along the shore and the some of the higher elevations, are covered with penguins and their nests. Almost this entire area along the shore, not quite back to the dark slope, and up the slope on the left are penguins and their nests. We were not able to get as close to this as some of the others so it is harder to see them.
More penguins both along the shore and on top of the high area to the right. It is quite a job for the penguins to get from the waters edge up to that height which they need to do to feed their young. The ones on top would be later arrivals and therefore would need to go further inland (and in this case upwards) to choose a nesting location. We were told that it was somewhat unusual to see penguins this high up on an iceberg. There are certainly many here. There is likely a lower area on the other side of the berg that we cannot see that they can get on and then they walk up to where they are here. To get up they swim very fast up to the edge and jump up out of the water onto the ice. They keep doing this until they are successful or get tired trying.

I do not remember what kind of bird they said this is but it was a nice picture.
It may be a Skua or an Antarctic Tern.

From Paulet Island we sailed back following the course we came in along. Our next stop is Esperanza Station which we passed on the way in. Here is the map showing this.

Map 4

Here are just a few pictures as we came back. These are mostly different than the ones coming in. There had not been too much change in the just over half an hour (33 minutes) it took to circumnavigate Paulet Island. From here to Esperanza Station took 118 minutes.(That is 1 hour and 58 minutes.)

More uniquely shaped icebergs.
Not sure if this is an island or the peninsula but it looked interesting.
I think that this is a close up of the left iceberg in the picture above.
More strange and unique iceberg shapes.
More scenery as we head back into Antarctic Sound.
Passengers checking the icebergs at the back or stern of the ship.

We arrived at Esperanza Station at 12:45PM and stayed there for 53 minutes according to the log of the Antarctic part of our voyage that every passenger was given. This is an Argentinean station. There are penguins here to. Here are a few pictures showing the station and the area around it.

The Esperanza Station is in the middle in the distance directly behind the small iceberg in the foreground.
A view looking the other direction. That may be the same iceberg.
Something happened and I had to go inside just when the best pictures of the station were available. I think my memory card was full. Thus, the next few were taken through the dirty cabin window. Note the penguins on the iceberg in the foreground.
This is a very similar picture, minus the penguins.
One of the major things the Argentines that are here study is, guess what, penguins. What a surprise? There are thousands of them around here too. I finally got back outside and here are some of the many penguins. The penguins are all over the place in the areas with the reddish colour.
Thousands more here.
More and more penguins. You can see some along the shore line to the left and mostly right of centre. If it is any consolation, these are the last ones you will see until the Falkland Islands in a couple of days.

The ship stayed here longer than planned. Apparently a skua bird killed and ate a penguin near the ship and the captain stayed longer than planned to document this from the bridge. The Ice Pilot said that the captain had a camera with a large telephoto lens and was snapping pictures of the whole process. So when finally left here at 1:38PM and headed to the last stop in Antarctica which was Elephant Island. Interestingly this trip took exactly 7 hours and 7 minutes. Here is a map showing the final leg of the ships Antarctic Experience.

Map 6

Elephant Island would have no real importance except that 28 survivors of Sir Earnest Shackleton's well known Endurance expedition landed here. Apparently he and his men had been exploring the southern ice pack and got trapped. They were trapped in the ice and had not touched land for 497 days. They broke free and rowed northward. By pure chance they landed on the northeastern tip of Elephant Island. (See the picture below, it was a pretty ugly spot.) They decided they had to move or they would be washed off the beach. So they moved further up the north side of the island. Even then, there was not much to work with.
Apparently Shackleton realized that nobody would come looking for them so he and five of his men set out onboard a 22 foot longboat. This should have been an impossible 800 mile crossing to South Georgia Island. They made it ( this was no small feat either) and Shackleton returned to rescue the remaining 22 men from Elephant Island 105 days later. The men on the island lived under upside down boats and apparently it was amazing that they survived at all, never mind 105 days. Every last man returned home. This all happened in 1915-16.

By the time we reached the island the weather had deteriorated and it was getting dark. After all, we got there at 8:45PM. The weather had been quite good until just before we got to the island. Elephant Island has a group of other small islands around it and they create their own weather. So, here is what we were able to see as we approached the island.

One of our first views of Elephant Island.
It did get a bit better as we got closer.

We sailed across the south shore of the island as shown at the top of the map below.

Map 6

Here is what we saw as we sailed across.

The southwest end of the island.
A fourty (40) mile wide glacier.
It is a very inhospitable place.
It gets rougher as you go east towards where Shackleton landed.
This is where Shackleton's men landed. It is called Cape Valentine. It is believed that there was more beach here in 1916 than there is now. This was the last picture taken in Antarctica. Somewhere along this shore is where Shackleton's 22 men moved to and lived for the 105 days after landing at Cape Valentine and their rescue.

This last group of pictures were taken under very low light and has caused colour problems. It did the best I could to correct them.

Normally they take us around the north side of the island to show us where they believed Shackleton's men moved to but the weather was poor and it was too dark (witness the colour problems in the pictures above) to see anything so they decided to just set out for our next stop, the Falkland Islands. The map below shows the completed final day of Scenic Cruising as they call it with the arrow at the top pointing up off the top towards the Falkland Islands.

Map 7

Three hours and twenty-eight minutes after leaving Elephant Island we left Antarctica. That is tomorrow and will be formally documented there.

Thus endith the third and final day of the Antarctic Experience.

Started Creation: February 22, 2009 at home.
Finished Creation: February 23, 2009 at home
Last updated: February 26, 2009 10:30 AM