Tuesday, December 24, 2009
During the night, we sailed south from Elephant Island to some of the outer islands of the Antarctic Peninsula. This is the point of land closest to the South American continent.
Our first landing was at Brown Bluff, where a large gentoo and adelie colony thrived at the foot of vertical cliffs several hundred feet high, the island’s namesake. A short climb up a slippery snowfield allowed us a peek into a rock crevice where two snow petrels were nesting.
Thick sea ice prevented us from making a landing at Paulet Island, unfortunately. Paulet Island was where members of Otto Nordenskiöld’s 1902 Swedish Antarctic Expedition overwintered in a small hut, which I visited on my first voyage a couple of decades ago.
So we headed northwest through a narrow passageway choked with great tabular icebergs, gleaming in the stormy late afternoon light and turned south along the Danko Coast.