Antarctica 2007 Adventure

Antarctica, the 7th continent, and my 7th continent, was not 'discovered' until 1820.

My Antarctica adventure began January 21st, 2007. This tour was through the University Alumni Association in cooperation with Gohagan Travel. Everything that Gohagan touched was excellent and well organized.

We departed the US on January 21st. An overnight flight took us to Buenos Aires (BONUS EYE-RAYS). After a day of fun in Buenos Aires, we flew to Ushuaia (OOSH-WHY-UH) in the province of Tierra del Fuego on the Cape Horn, where we boarded the French ship, MS Le Diamant. The regular tour ended February 4th, however, I did a 3 day extension to see Iguazu Falls in the jungle between the Misiones province of Argentina and Brazil. My return date was February 6th.

While my all-time favorite tour remains Egypt, this trip will always be memorable in many ways. We made 10 Zodiac landings. We saw 3 kinds of penguins (Gentoo, Chinstrap, & Adelie), including over a quarter of a million on one island. We saw birds, seals, and whales. Our lecturers were mostly excellent. A storm on the return trip across the Drake Passage trashed the ship and caused some personal injury. In spite of that, it was another great adventure.

Afterword for those who like to read: The New Yorker magazine December 19&26, 2011 issue contains an interesting short story about Arctic landings from a cruise ship. Stone Mattress by Margaret Atwood.

I took over 600 pictures on this trip. A few are below, or on the linked pages above.

10 ZODIAC LANDINGS

Day Date Time Landing
Location
Comments
Friday01/26/07 12:30-4:30pmAitcho Island, Shetland IslandsElephant seal, birds, Gentoo & Chinstrap penguins. 'An elephant seal smells worse alive than dead.'
Friday01/26/07 7:00-10:30pmHalf Moon Island, Shetland IslandsArgentine Camara station & nesting site. Passport stamp.
Saturday01/27/07 6:30-10:30amDeception Island, Shetland Islands
Baily Head
260,000 Chinstrap penguins.
Saturday01/27/07 11:15-12:30pmDeception Island, Shetland Islands
Pendulum Cove
Swimming. Black sand.
Saturday01/27/07 2:30-7:00pmDeception Island, Shetland Islands
Telefon Bay
Calderas, ash on ice, good hike. Eruptions as recent as 1970.
Sunday01/28/07 12:30-4:30pmNeko Harbor, Antarctic PeninsulaAntarctica continental landing. Gentoo penguins. Glaciers calving.
Sunday01/28/07 7:00-9:00pmJougla PointPenguins and whale bones. Ecstatic display.
Sunday01/28/07 9:00-11:30pmPort LockerbyBritish Antarctica Survey summer station, 64° 49' south latitude.
Monday01/29/07 7:45am-12:00Petermann IslandSouthern-most point of travel, south of 65°, 90 miles from Antarctic circle. Gentoo and Adele Penguins and crazy skua (Gulls on steroids)
Tuesday01/30/07 1:30-6:15pmDevils IslandWeddell Sea. Hiked the right horn.


Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina is the southern most city in the world, and the self-proclaimed 'End of the earth'. Ushuaia
Drake Passage. The first crossing was smooth. Drake Passage lived up to it's reputation on the return crossing. Drake Passage
On the fo'c's'le (forecastle), when the anchor is being dropped. The chain dust flew. The bosun (boatswain) is tightening the brake. You can see the brake smoke. Dropping anchor
Landing crew ready to help with passengers at shore. Landing crew
Landings were made by Zodiac, with 6 to 12 people, depending on conditions. We are all decked out in rain gear, thermals, life jackets, and knee high boots, ready to wade through the surf. There were no docks. Zodiac landing
Note the geothermal steam rising along the shore line. That is where we went swimming. Geothermal steam
More climbing. The glacier in the background was calving near the ship, the small white object on the left. More climbing
Going higher still on the Antarctic continent. I was called back because there were hidden crevasses. Antarctic continental landing
Zodiac in waters with much more floating ice. Icier waters
Tabular iceberg, taller than the ship. Some are as big as a small city. Tabular iceberg
Iceberg that has broken and rolled. Iceberg that has rolled
Penguins. Penguins
Curious penguin chicks. Curious penguin chicks
Whale bones at a former whaling station. Whale bones
Penguin with a newly hatched chick. The chick was hatched too late in the season and won't be mature enough to survive when the penguins leave. New penguin chick
World floating condo, constantly cruising the world, at temporary anchor in Antarctica. 'World' floating condo
Time to say goodby to an old friend, which succumbed to either the zodiac salt spray, or the Iguazu Falls spray.

Update: It is so cold and dry in Minnesota in February, that all the water vapor leaked out of my watch. Maybe it has a few more years after all.
Old watch

Antarctica Reference Links

Country Information

Tourist Stuff

Ships run aground or sunk

Books

Other links

In addition, many cruise lines have cruises to Antarctica from Argentina, Chile, Australia, or NZ.