Antarctica – Day 7 – Weddell Sea

Last night I almost fulfilled one of my bucketlist items – I almost saw the midnight sun.    I say almost, because at the latitudes where we are, the sun does actually set briefly, but I definitely stayed up to see the midnight twilight 🙂   Here’s the proof – a picture of Rosamel Island, the entrance to the Weddell Sea, taken at midnight.

Rosamel Island - Weddell Sea - Antarctica
Image of Rosamel Island taken at midnight from my cabin window on the Vavilov

Easier day today, spent mostly on the Vavilov cruising around the Weddell Sea looking for “big birds” – ie Emperor Penguins.    Absolutely gorgeous day with blue skies and very little wind during the morning – so wonderful to be out on decks enjoying the views.

Weddell Sea - Antarctica
Extremely unusual – mirror water for our Weddell Sea excursion in search of Emperor Penguins

The One Ocean crew were saying that the conditions were really unusual for the Weddell Sea – normally they can’t actually get in there – and this was only the second time one of them had made it in 9 seasons of coming to Antarctica!    So very lucky again 🙂

Unfortunately, not much wildlife at all, and definitely no Emperor Penguins, though we sailed as far south as we could before the ice turned us around (it was always going to be a long shot).   Had a relatively short, late afternoon landing on Joinville Island, underneath Durville Monument at a large Adelie Penguin colony (with Gentoos thrown in of course).   Again, only the second time any of the crew had visited the site – it is not well known and often difficult to get to.

Durville Monument - Weddell Sea - Antarctica
This isolated peak is known as the Durville Monument

And it’s not only Gentoos that are sitting on eggs at the moment.   The Adelies have an extremely short breeding season and we managed to catch them right at it.

Adelie Penguin and egg - Durville Monument - Weddell Sea - Antarctica
Adelie Penguin sitting on an egg

Back on the Vavilov and it was time for another hot tub before dinner.

Hot tub - Vavilov - Antarctica
Time for another hottub (this time with Assa and Carl) after exploring the Adelie Penguin colony near the Durville Monument (thanks Carl for the photo!)

And then a back-deck party (with buttered Rum) to watch the ship’s progress through the huge tabular icebergs that crowd the Antarctic Sound.

Vavilov bar - Antarctica
Hot buttered rum greeted us after dinner as we headed out on deck to watch our progress through the enormous tabular icebergs

These icebergs are up to 20 metres high (much taller than the Vavilov) and very impressive.   And the light was incredible!

Tabular Icebergs - Weddell Sea - Antarctica

This was then followed by Antarctic Trivia up in the Vavilounge in which my team, Shack Pack, ended up coming 2nd after some very dodgy decisions…  

Yes – the days are very full here on the Valivov (another 11:30pm night), but great fun 🙂   The One Ocean crew were saying the other day that this is the youngest crowd they’ve ever had by percentage of passenger numbers, so I think they are having a lot of fun with us as well.


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