A while back Jon asked Catherine where he could take her to dinner for her 70th birthday. She said Antarctica and it turned out to be a very expensive b-day dinner!
So this December we returned to Antarctica for the third time and the first time this late in the season (our previous two trips were in November). We hoped to see some penguin chicks and to get to spend more time in Antarctica. On our previous two trips we had gone the long way via the Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island and spent only 5 days in Antarctica. This trip focused exclusively on Antarctica and we spent 11 days there.
As expected the weather was unsettled and we experienced heavy winds for the first part of the trip. Luckily the wind was behind us crossing the Drake’s Passage to Antarctica and so the trip was not bad. But once we got to the supposedly protected Antarctica Peninsula the wind picked up, forcing us to miss landing upon landing. For several days we had steady 30+ knot winds, with one gust hitting 87mph (39m/s=76knots=87mph)
But when the sun arrived, and Antarctica showed off its beauty
and it penguins
We got to see the chicks we wanted
We lucked out on our passage back across the Drake as the sea was flat as a pancake and certainly smoother than SF Bay.
Overall we were gone for 21 days, had 9 landings and 4 zodiac rides. Jon took over 9,000 pictures and almost 3 hours of video and Catherine about 15,000 pictures (don’t worry we won’t show you all of them). After being off the gird for 2 weeks, it is a mixed blessing to be back in touch with the world. More updates will follow as we work our way our out of 3 weeks of mail, both snail and electronic. In the meantime enjoy this short video prepared for our fellow passengers
We were on the same ship as before, the MV Ushuaia, a converted NOAA research vessel (i.e. not luxurious) that got us where we needed to go.