Antarctic Diary: March 15th – Lemaire Channel, Yalour Islands, Petermann Island

Position at 0600 on 15th March
Latitude: 64°59’1” S
Longitude: 063°46’1” W
Course: 225°
Speed: 7.4 kts
Barometer: 1004hpa
Air temp: -1° C
Sea temp: 1° C
Wind Speed: LT AIR
Penguin count: Countless
Whale count: Also countless!

Today we were up bright and early, with the expedition leader, Christian, making a special call over the tannoy at 5:45am to hustle us out of our beds and onto the upper viewing deck. From there, we watched on as the Captain carefully manoeuvred us through the Lemaire Channel. With our steaming hot cups of coffee warming our hands, we took in the sights as we sailed by, marvelling at the towering basalt mountains and glaciers as the sun slowly rose behind them, casting a rosy hue across the sky. What a beautiful way to start the day.

After breakfast, it was straight into the activities for us. The Frosty Five geared up and headed out onto the Zodiac for a cruise around Yalour Island. We managed to snag the lovely Hannah as our Zodiac driver, and utilised our time with her to record an absolute gem of a lesson on leopard seals. We started recording and in a moment that seemed straight out of a movie, as Gavin spoke the words “…and here we have one of the apex predators of this region, the mighty leopard seal…” – a giant 3.5 metre leopard seal leapt out of the water, as if responding to his cue!!

The morning was off to a brilliant start, and we managed to record a couple more videos, including one with Young Art USA’s Jordan C Brun about the colour contrast between black and white: recorded in front of a colony of Adelie penguins. We also got to spend some time on Yalour Island where we saw several thousand more Adelie penguins (I’ve given up counting) and our photographer Graeme Myburgh took some absolutely stunning close-ups of the penguins, showing off their unique-seeming personalities.

After lunch we were back again at the ready, for another outing to another island – Petermann Island. Here, we trekked up the snowy mountainside and found ourselves in front of an Adelie penguin creche, where our videographer, Matt Iuliano of Wildhearts Creative Media, recorded a lesson with Upschool’s Gavin McCormack on how leadership within penguin colonies reflects what we can be doing within our own communities to make a more sustainable world. We spent the remainder of the afternoon with Dr Karl, recording lessons for about the layers of the Earth.

With such an eventful day, it was great to be back aboard the ship to finish up with a lecture from Ella on the restoration of the ozone layer. We learned so much from her, including that since the 1987 release of the Montreal Protocol, the world has worked together to restore the hole that sits directly over the Antarctic continent.

It was an early night for all and we headed off to bed, looking forward to the next day and the next adventure.

See you tomorrow and thanks for reading!

Love from the Frosty Five!

Tanya, Gavin, Graeme, Jordan & Matt