Antarctic Diary: March 14th – Cuverville & Paradise Harbour

Position at 0700 on 14th March
Latitude: 64°36’5” S
Longitude: 062°34’5” W
Course: 197°
Speed: 10.1 kts
Barometer: 1003hpa
Air temp: -1° C
Sea temp: 1° C
Wind Speed: NW 4
Penguin count: 749?!?
Whale count: Dozens!

Unbelievably, it’s only day four of our Antarctic Adventure, though it feels like we’ve experienced a lifetime of wonder already! It’s another beautiful morning and today there are some amazing things planned for us by the Aurora Expeditions team on board. First up, though, is a delicious buffet breakfast, bright and early at 8am.

The ship, Greg Mortimer, named after the first Australian to climb Mount Everest without the use of oxygen tanks, cruised down the Gerlache Strait and we got to see even more whales! Humpback whales slowly cruised by and surfaced as we watched from above – it was a sight to behold.

Yesterday afternoon, before dinner, we had the honour and privilege of being able to interview Dr Karl Kruszelnicki for the first of a series of ten educational videos about ‘Space from the Edge of the World’. It was a short and sweet intro to the solar system and we were all in awe as we listened to him speak on the topic.

As the days go by, we’ll be taking every opportunity to pick his brain on topics as far and wide as the universe and beyond – his knowledge seems to know no bounds and we appreciate every minute we spend with him.

After brekky on the 14th, we got to do our first landing! It was a place called Cuverville Island and we saw our first colony of penguins!! I’d been planning on doing a penguin count for this trip but there were so many! Matt has jokingly estimated that there were 749 penguins there, and Gavin, ever the teacher, informs us that it is the largest Gentoo penguin colony on Earth.

The landing and surrounds were the perfect location for getting the next few educational video recordings. We found a cute group of penguins and set up in front of them, at a respectable distance for Gavin to deliver a lesson on the Gentoo penguin’s first journey into the ocean.
In a different spot, we set up again for Jordan, our art curriculum writer cohort from Young Art USA, to deliver a lesson on depth perception – with penguins in the foreground and background.

The afternoon took us cruising through the Errera Channel, filled with even more whales surfing the waters alongside us. We are almost at the point where the whale count is going to be countless, too! We were treated to a Zodiac cruise around Paradise Harbour, anchoring near the Argentinian Antarctic Base Brown. We spotted even more whales, penguins swimming through the waters from island to island, cormorants nesting on cliff faces, and some very cool – in more ways than one – glaciers and icebergs.

What a day!! With so much that we’ve already seen, we can hardly believe it’s only still early days! What else is there?! Let’s see what tomorrow brings …

See you then and thanks for reading!

Love from the Frosty Five!

Tanya, Gavin, Graeme, Jordan & Matt