Friday, December 30, 2011

Antarctica Day 7: Hydrurga Rocks – Mikkelsen Harbour

“An Antarctic expedition is the worst way to have the best time of your life”
--- Apsley Cherry Garrard – The Worst Journey in the World.

Holy cow do I feel lazy today. I think all this fresh Antarctic air has gone to war with the years of ingested smog in my lungs compounded with the excitement of yesterday has me groggy today. I mean dumb as a chestnut groggy.  It is not a bad day at all, this is Antarctica but sometimes you just have to take a break. Its grey and snowing today but the weather changes here in an instant and it may be sunny in a hour. That is a part of the charm of Antarctica.

Adele Penguins
 The first zodiac went out at 9:00 to a Hidrurga rocks home to Chinstrap and Adele penguins. The Hidrurga rocks are named after the scientific name for the Leopard Seal. It is a small landing site at the northern entrance to the Gerlache Strait.  However the first thing off the zodiac we encounter are 3 fat and lazy waddle seals. They looked up at us, yawned and went back to sleep. I could seriously relate to that today boys. The island is small and not even mapped so walking it was a breeze. More seals along the way and then a rookery of Chinstraps.
** New fun word of the day has to be rookery**
I then spotted my first Adele penguins. These are what you think of when you think penguin. Black back, white front and gorgeous blue eyes. There were only a few of them but they had my attention for a while. Probably because I am attracted to blue like a moth to light. Pathetic really.

I have noticed that some of our little crew has become animal paparazzi, almost to the point of embarrassment. I love taking photos with my little idiot proof camera and having owned an SLR I know the fun they can be. There are some serious camera setups here with some brilliant photos taken. Now back to the paparazzi comment. I don’t understand the multi-frame bursting when taking a picture of a sleeping seal, or the insane reactions when said seal moves a little bit. Seal yawns 10 photos needed, seal craps get those shots, penguin sitting on the ice, snap snap snap and an iceberg passing with each cm is a different angle so get them all. There is a guy on this ship that has taken over 6000 photos and this is only day 6. I can see how that can happen and we are all laughing at the insanity of it all. Digital cameras are so crazy but allot of fun. 

After yesterdays whale chaos I don’t think anything was going to be as dramatic but this was still a nice experience. This island is back dropped by a dramatic glacier and the oddest shaped icebergs added to yet another Antarctic Experience.
I took a pass on the second zodiac trip today, as did half a dozen others. Mikklesen Harbor was discovered by the expedition of Nordenskjold. It is a small bay in the southern side of Trinity Island. There is a small unmanned hut and Gentoo Penguin rookery. I sat in the bar writing this blog, chatting with the others and finally the rocking of the ship put me to sleep. No worries, the coffee on board is great and it snapped me awake for dinner.

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