||65°6’3 S 64°2’49 W, 65°10’36 S 64°8’14 W
Our day began as Ortelius sailed South towards Pleaneau Island through the amazingly beautiful Lemaire Channel, it was breathtaking, not only in beauty but also with the biting temperature of the wind! There was a lot of us out on the bow braving the wind, as Captain Yury navigated us down the narrow channel. As we made our way out into the Penola Strait, we experienced a lot of sea ice that Ortlieus was able to push its way through at the south end of the Lemaire. Thankfully we found the wind had died down and we were able to get ashore at the visually stunning Pleaneau Island. With snow-shoeing amongst gentoo penguins and our mountaineers scaling the east side of the island, it made for an outstanding morning.
After repositioning the ship further south in the Penola Strait, we found ourselves in Port Charcot at the historic Petermann Island. With jaw dropping views from behind the back ridge on the far east side of the island, we were able to spot huge grounded icebergs and a very solitary and slothful weddell seal. On the north end as we hiked for a little elevation there was our first and only glimpse of the rare, and getting rarer, adelie penguin colony. A magnificent treat to say the least.
Port Charcot; named after Jean-Baptiste Charcot, the captain of Porquois-Pais which was Charcot’s second French Antarctic expedition ship in 1903-05, which overwintered in the bay.
Later that evening we returned 31 of our happy campers to the far north end of Pleaneau Island for a snowy and foggy- but satisfying- overnight stay on the ice.
In the afternoon the wind had calmed down and we were able to get in to the kayaks at Petermann island. We kayaked along the east side of the island and for some of the way our kayaks had to act more like icebreakers then kayaks. In a little shallow bay that is only accessible by kayak, we got a chance to see both adelie penguins and nesting blue eyed shags. As a great finale of kayaking this afternoon we landed on an ice floe from our kayaks.
AM - On today’s sea ice adventure we travelled over to a small island with the back drop of spectacular icebergs (the graveyard), coming back we spent some time with a weddell seal on the ice before finishing by climbing in our snowshoes to the highest point of the island.
PM - Passing adelie penguins our team of eleven headed for Circumcision cove and the steep icecap leading to the highest point of the island. The team gave it their best but sometimes turning back is the best option if conditions are not right. After soaking up the view over the cove we descended to see the adelies.
The camping night on Hovgaard started with a discussion on whether or not camping was possible at all. The grey clouds and predicted snowfall made the camping guides wonder how the night might play out. But with everyone being very positive and enthusiastic it seemed that the team could handle it - and they decided to push forward. After the zodiacs had delivered the campers ashore, there was a briefing about our camp spot and equipment. Everyone looked on as the guides built the privacy walls for the camp bathroom and they agreed that this might just be the best views a bathroom could ever have. As everyone settled into their bivys, a group of penguins walked through camp and decided to stay with us for the night. At around 1am the snow started to fall constantly and slowly covered everyone, and everything, with 6cm of fresh snow. In the morning the entire team was in good spirits and broke down camp quickly and efficiently and got back to the ship for some hot coffee by 05:30am. It was a cold and snowy night, but a night that no one would ever forget.