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Christmas on Antarctica

"Burning your ass while freezing your nose off" is how captain Klaas
described Deception Island, an active vulcano with a caldera that we
sailed into. Inside the caldera there are hot water springs that are
very suitable for bathing. After a polar plunge, a sprint into and out
of the water in the caldera, it was so nice to come back to your own
hole with warm water. Other landings in Deception Island included
Telefon harbour where we hiked through a snow storm and Whalers Bay
where we saw the remains of an the buildings and instruments that were
used to retrieve the whales' fat for oil.
On the South Shetland Islands we made some landings and saw gentoo,
macaroni and rockhopper penguins. While sailing and during landings we
see all kinds of birds, like albatrosses and skuas, whales, like Minke
and Humbugs, and seals, like elephant, leopard, weddell and crabeater
seals.
In the meantime the landscape just gets more amazing all the time. The
glaciers, ice and snow are only increasing. The shapes and colours of
the icebergs are stunning. And very often the Bark Europa makes a very
good picture background. Unless of course the pictures are made from the
top of one of the masts.
At Trinity Island we made a zodiac tour through the Icebergs. Everybody
who had high expectations of Antarctica and this trip had to admit that
the expectations where still overachieved.
As mentioned in my previous blog, the food on board is always very good
and full of surprises. On Christmas day the galley prepared a true feast
meal. Lamb for a starter and a skewer of kudu, ostrich and springbok
from the barbecue on deck as main course.
The second Christmas day - we are on a Dutch ship after all - we passed
through the Graham passage, saw a ship wreck and made a landing on
Cuverville Island. We hiked, saw a lot of gentoo penguins and - a
highlight of the trip - slided down to the beach through the snow.
Did I mention the beautiful sunsets and light, mysterious nights? Last
night, after our visit to the Ukrainian research station Vernadsky, the
base crew visited our ship for a deck party in the sun til after
midnight. The wodka at the base and the bottles of wine made everyone
happy. The Ukranian crew are never bored in their base, because they
have a snooker table, a sauna and they can always count penguins or take
water samples.
Yesterday night we passed through paradise harbour and I was happy to be
on watch, it was so beautiful. The next morning, we passed through the
spectaculair Lemaire channel.
Today we landed on Yalour island with big adelie penguins colonies. They
are more active and funnier than the gentoos. They slide down slopes and
kind of swim back up. Many of them had eggs or chicks.

Bram,  28th of Dec 2019

Geschreven door:
Bram | Voyage crew

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