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December 10, 2004


The next morning, thursday, we were supossed to have our first landing, but when I woke up and looked out the window, it didn't seem very promising. We were still cruising along the ice edge looking for a way in to the channel. After breakfast, Laurie had a meeting in the lounge to talk about our position and what we were planning to do, which pretty much came down to "try to find a way in." (map).The previous day we had been all the way down by Anvers Island and had to turn around after reaching the pack ice in the Bismark Strait. We sailed overnight back along the ice edge and tried to get in between Anvers Island and Brabant Island, but part way in had to turn around again because of the ice. So by the morning, we were still heading along the ice edge looking for a way into the channel.

We were entertained and distracted throughout the morning by lectures and food, which worked pretty well for me. Early in the afternoon, Laurie announced we had found our way through the ice (in reality, I think we just went around the ice) and would be making our first landing at Mikkelsen Harbor on Trinity Island. The zodiacs were lowered into the water and I put on all of my layers of gear. I think I looked a little like a colorful Kenny from South Park, with the head band and neck warmer hiding all of my face except my eyes. We got into the zodiacs and cruised to the island. There was a small Argentinian refuge hut, which was not in use, well, not by humans anyway. The welcoming committee was a colony of nesting gentoo penguins. We spent a few hours on the island, watching them. It is egg laying season, so the penguin rookeries are full of pairs of penguins, one sitting on the egg, and the other either gathering stones to keep the nest, or out in the water finding food. Its nicer to see the penguins when they have just come out of the water, because they will have cleaned themselves. It seems that penguins like to hang out in their own guano, which was the dominating smell near the rookeries.

Penguin activities included sitting on their eggs, mating, walking in a single file line, hanging out on the "beach", or just standing on rocks. They also seemed curious about us. If you just sat down on a rock, they would sometimes waddle right up to check you out.

It was great to finally get on to land after being at sea for a few days. After returning back to the ship, we had our nightly recap and briefing where the expedition staff would talk about the island, the penguins, its history and what the plan was for the next day. We were hoping to go south into the Lemaire Channel, but we wouldn't know until we got there what the ice conditions were. Fingers crossed.

That night, the waitstaff did a Russian dance for us, which was nice.

Posted by msshell on December 10, 2004 07:23 AM
Category: Antarctica

Very cool. After being on such a rocky ship for a few days, you must have felt pretty wobbly on the land.

Looking forward to your next entry!

Posted by: Rob M on December 10, 2004 11:58 AM

Michelle: What a pictures of cute penquins, especially they're watching your friends, posing for you.
we're enjoying the sunset pictures too.once in your lifetime, you catch such a wonderful site which it will be lingering in your mind for a long time. More and more pictures if you can take to let us visual your journeys as well.

Posted by: GRACE TSAI on December 10, 2004 10:13 PM

Love the penguin photos. They are so cute! Hmm... (try again)

Posted by: Sherry on December 14, 2004 09:51 AM

Okay, Ellen. Now I wish I had gone on the trip. The penguins are too cute.

Posted by: Jessica Katherine on December 16, 2004 01:30 PM
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