Day 268: m/v Plancius – Antarctica – Mar 12th

Disembarking at Half Moon Bay, so named for the crescent shape of the shoreline. Across the shore was an Argentine research station that was out of operation(?), but adds some life to the otherwise majestically frozen landscape. This time, fur sea were added to the mix, and these guys aren’t the cute friendly ones we saw back in the Galapagos, but they seem quite agitated so we walked far away from them.

Climbing upon a hill, a colony of chinstrap penguins stood around, pooing and gawking and being themselves. In the middle of the whole colony stood a single, macaroni penguin with its yellow hairs standing out. Why is he/she here, nobody knows, but its been here for a long time! A true identity crisis…..

As part of the cruise, other passengers are allowed an option to kayak, and another to scuba dive! Yes, scuba dive in the Antarctic ocean, where the waters aren’t frozen but a frigid -2C because of the salinity!!! And it was also the first day for the kayakers/divers to be able to head out for their excursions. Unfortunately, a tragic accident tainted the day as one of the divers suffered a fatality for reasons unknown…. and it really affected us personally as we had a nice dinner with the person the previous evening and even passed along a few words of encouragement before their group disembarked the boat as we ran into each other again in the hallway….. It was an extremely unfortunate accident and we send our condolences to the family.

This event, along with all the historic stories about explorers giving the ultimate sacrifice at their attempt in conquering the continent, serves as a reminder how inhospitable the white continent, and nature, really is. The world has really evolved to the point where we, just some regular tourists, can get a ticket and travel safely to and from Antarctica with three luxurious meals a day, varying lectures of interesting subjects, different afternoon snacks, and warmth in body and in soul.

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