Day 267: m/v Plancius – Antarctica – Mar 11th

WE HAVE OUR FIRST SIGHTING OF THE ANTARCTIC PENINSULA. We were at Barrientos Island, and it’s not quite the continent, nor is it close to the South Pole, but we’ve crossed the Antarctic convergence and it’s just good to see something except ocean in the horizon. The lectures really works, and we have learned quite a bit about the continent.

We spent the morning prepping up for landing on Antarctica by learning how to properly get off a Zodiac, what to look out for in terms of danger (slippery poo and over-friendly seals), and most importantly the 5m rule. You are not allowed to approach animals closer than 5m, but if you stand there and the animals come to YOU, then it’s totally okay!

Before we knew it, we were lined up at the gangway, sliding onto a Zodiac and off we went! It’s almost impossible to actually maintain 5m distance from any penguin, since the penguins are scattered ALL over the pathways and are all around. Seeing penguins for the first time, it was a strange feeling. You’re excited to land onto the Antarctic, and at the shore there’s a bunch of penguins standing there looking clueless, and totally indifferent if not curious to your existence. Some, are even curious and come up to you, pecking at your pants, camera straps and wondering if you’re edible. Adorable, fascinating, cute, noisy, smelly and confused is probably the best words we would use to describe these little fellows.

The landscape itself took a backseat to the penguins, and we spent the afternoon frolicking amongst penguins, watching them walk, run, call and generally look silly.

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