I finally had some well deserved sleep. Slept about five hours and jumped up when my alarm went off. Hooray. Needed that.
Breakfast was served at seven AM. Breakfast is a la carte and everything imaginable is served. I am eating less for dinner and making breakfast my main meal. A good practice to follow when I return top the real world.
The weather was perfect for picture taking. Cloudy and just a little tint of sunlight. We boarded the zodiacs at 8 AM. I am becoming adept at boarding and disembarking from the zodiac. A very easy vessel to get on and off. We landed at a place called “Curverville Island”. “Curveville Island” is located at the northern entrance to the Errera Channel. Now we all know where I am. Why land here? This island is home to over five thousand pairs of gentoo penguins. Yesterday we landed on an island and took pictures of Chinstrap Penguins. Penguins build and use highways. How could penguins build highways? They build and carve out of the snow and ice pathways that they use to go around their habitat. Very cool looking. There are long pathways extending all over the penguin islands and the penguins always use them to walk around. We are very careful to not step on them and navigate over them. Curverville Island was magnificent. I even got down on my stomach, in penguin poop, to take pictures of these beautiful creatures at their eye level. This makes for as much more effective image than towering over them and shooting down. You need to enter their world. Many of my penguin pictures are either taken on my knees, sitting down or on my stomach. Did not care about the poop. I wanted to enter their world and see them looking at me. I wandered all over Curverville Island shooting until my fingers and hands ached.One thing I would like to mention. Before we board our zodiacs, we must walk through troughs of cleansing fluid to make sure that no foreign germs nor substances are taken onto Antartica. When we return from the landing excursions, we go through the same process. My equipment is taking a major beating. Ice and snow is not good for electronic camera equipment, but the gear I use is professional and weather sealed.
I took the zodiac back and immediately went up to my cabin before lunch. Had to clean my equipment and lenses thoroughly. Downloaded another thousand pictures onto my external hard drive and was now ready for lunch. Walking over soft and hard snow and ice is difficult and takes lots of energy. My back is going and my legs ache. The boat doctor gave me some pills for my back. Lunch was fabulous. The crew made a barbecue on deck. There is a large barbecue bolted down to the back of the boat. The beef, chicken and sausages were great. I had the beef.
It was now time to take a small rest and get ready for our next land excursion. The first two land excursions were on islands. Meaning that we have not set foot on the Antarctic Continent until now. We were landing on “Neko Harbor”. Neko Harbor is a small bay located on the west coast of “Graham Land”. Don’t say it again, Now you know where I am. There were lots of small floating icebergs and ice on the water leading to the landing. The zodiac traveled very slowly around the ice, but once in a while bumped into some ice. We finally landed and I officially stepped onto the Antarctic Continent. The Drake tried to stop me, but I fought him off and finally succeeded. I took some amazing wide angle shots of the landscape as we approached the landing. The beach was all rocks. I walked down the beach to take some pictures of some more Gentoo penguins. When I reached their colony, a large piece of ice fell down into the other side of the bay that I was facing. When this happens it could cause a large wave to wash to the other shore. This is what happened. As I was standing on a rock beach looking at a penguin colony, a large wave approached me. Not from the ocean but from the fall of a large piece of ice. The force is that strong. I immediately got into shooting mode and stood my ground. We were told that if the ice is large enough, a tsunami wave can be created. I then walked down the other side of the beach to the zodiacs and got back on one for my return to the boat. The scene was awesome in the zodiac. Could not stop taking landscape pictures of this amazing environment. The zodiac created interesting waves in the calm water and with the ice and icebergs, the scene stood out.
Got back on the boat and went up to my room to undress and take a nice long hot shower. Needed that.
Before dinner, we all had a surprise. A couple from Maine got married on the brow of the boat. It was the second marriage for both of them. They took their vows overlooking an ice filled channel of icebergs. We all cheered and clapped as the boat moved forward.
Dinner was fresh local salmon probably from Patagonia. Very good.
After dinner we had a photo critique. I love sitting through these and seeing what others are doing and how they do certain techniques in post editing. I presented three of my pictures for the critique. A fun way to enjoy and learn.
Hope I sleep tonight as the adventure continues.
Before I say good night, I want to leave everyone with a quote I found.
“An Antarctic Expedition is the worst way to have the best time in your life”. Said by Arsley Cherry from “The Worst Journey In the World”.