First stop this morning was a D’Hainaut Island, a very small island in Mikkelsen Harbour just off Trinity Island on the Western side of the peninsula.
First sighting of the island. First thought, hmm, that doesn’t look like much, sure you can see the penguin highways, and there’s snow, but why are we here?
We soon realized that this stop wasn’t about the landing, but the bay itself. The bay is rich in krill and a favourite feeding spot for humpback whales.
They did not disappoint…
There was a lot of “ooing” & “awing”, even some applause. We could have stayed out there the whole time, but we had to give the other groups a turn, so in we went.
We landed on the backside of the island and walked up to the top. This was our first landing where there was significant snow, much to the delight of some.
This is Catherine & I with the ship in the background.
Personally, I never tire of the penguins, especially when they have chicks!
This is the “penguin highway”
This Gentoo had a train of kelp and seemed blissfully unaware
An elephant seal and a Gentoo
Battle for the beach
The building is an Argentine refuge hut; if we were stranded there are supplies in there, probably not enough for all of us though!
The glacier on Trinity Island just behind us; more breathtaking scenery.
Beautifully calm seas and blue skies as we prepared to sail to Cierva Cove
So calm you could see the reflections of these porpoising Gentoos in the water…
Cierva Cove was the southern-most point of our trip. The glacier at the back of the Cove calves frequently, resulting in large impressive icebergs and brash ice. It’s hard to describe the beauty and serenity of this place, so I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
Our ‘little’ ship…
This is a fun shot I took of Laurie, our zodiac driver (and the expedition coordinator) when we were in the brash ice.
Our first Crabeater seal; they are the most abundant seal species and are found all around Antarctica, mostly living on the pack ice.
Oh look – a penguin!
The leopard seals are predators, in Antarctica only the Killer Whale is more predatory; their food of choice is penguin, but they are also known to feed on other seal species and seal pups. They’re the 2nd largest of the seals, second only to the elephant seals.
In the brash ice..
It was beautiful and utterly peaceful, Laurie turned off the motor for a bit and we just bobbed around.
We were wondering how it could possibly get any better – beautiful day, amazing scenery, seals, penguins… And then – Minke!
This next photo is just a piece of ice, very dark because it hasn’t much air in it, but we thought for a second it was a whale tail.
And if that’s not enough – then there was the humpback…
Then a leopard seal decided to check us out and swam directly under our zodiac. Looking for lunch perhaps?
Can you see the face in the picture below?
The Argentine Base – Primavera
The time came to return to the ship, but the day was far from over. I was getting ready for the polar plunge as this passed by my window
81 brave souls did the polar plunge, including yours truly. It was refreshing! After our dip, it was time for our 2nd bbq on the aft deck.
All in all, it had been an amazing day. The best yet – and there had been some great ones. As I was getting ready to call it a day, Annie, our Marine Biologist, came over the PA system – there were several Humpbacks feeding around the ship. I grabbed my coat and camera and headed out. The captain did a big circle around them and we all stood in awe, watching them feed in the setting sun. It was, without a doubt, the perfect ending to the perfect day.
- Cierva Cove
- D'Hainaut Island
- Mikkelsen Harbour
- Whale Tail