King penguins

Farthest south!


Day 14 - Cape Hallett and Ironside Glacier


     This journal is constructed as one web page for each day of my journey, including the arrival day in Auckland, and the final two days, which I spent in Hobart.  I have tried to keep the picture images of a reasonable size for easy web page loading.  To see a much larger view of (practically) any image, just left-click on the photo.

     As usual, we are up at the crack . . . well, the crackle of the radio, and Danielle (the assistant expedition leader) saying, "And, a very good morning to you..."  Breakfast comes in two versions - today it is scrambled eggs, which I prefer.  It is quite a morning - ice, clouds and mountains.  We are cruising up to Cape Hallett, where there is an Adelie colony and an abandoned research station.  The station was used from 1957 to 1964, and there is still plenty of stuff around.  There is a small group of Kiwis here as part of a long-term clean up effort.

     The water is perfectly calm - there is no wind, but it is cool and overcast.  Very little ice here in the bay, and the water is full of penguins swimming back and forth to land.  This is a large colony, with some 50,000 birds.  We land via the zodiac boats and have time to spend here as we see fit.

     We do, however, have constraints on where we can walk to.  We were limited to the area along the shoreline, and a little bit inland, to the fuel tanks.  There are penguins everywhere!  The chicks were getting quite large and many are starting to molt.  Kirsten (our resident marine biologist) says that the smaller chicks won't grow enough to survive the winter, which brings home the stark reality of life and death for these animals, and how their whole existence revolves around mere survival.

Adelie chicks awaiting food.  The "Duck" tractor. Waterproofing oils are in the tail.

A molting Adelie chick.  Tractor and penguins. Dennis at Cape Hallett.
     In the afternoon, we took a helicopter tour of nearby Ironside Glacier.  It was quite unworldly when the sun poked its way through the overcast to light up this awesome glacier.  We only rode six to a helicopter, versus eight when we are merely using them to transport us someplace.  That made it much more comfortable.  I snapped only a few pictures, choosing to record most of this on my camcorder, and just enjoying the scenery.  The deep blue color in the numerous crevasses was quite a sight.  It is such an odd place, with the landscape in basic black and white (except when it is clear), but with this deep blue color in the ice.

Sun shining on Ironside Glacier.  Crevasses on Ironside Glacier. Returning to the ship.
     I have been experimenting with some of my shots - especially trying out the black and white feature and the sepia tone feature.  The photos look quite cool this way, and I have included a few of them below.

The ship heads away from the Antarctic coast (B&W). 

Antarctic coastline (B&W). 

Churning through the pack ice (B&W).

Snowfall on the bow. 

An ice puzzle. 

     As we head away from this fantastic day, our plan is to cruise along the Antarctic coast for a while, before heading north to the Balleny Islands.  In the early evening we got a bit of snow, and the visibility went down to nothing.  But, at around midnight, it was clearer and I got a chance to hang out on the bridge of the ship as we passed by Cape Adare, where our visit to this special place began.

     Follow the "Next" and "Back" links to go from page to page.  Or, return to the "Antarctica Home Page" and link to any day from the "Daily Logs" shown there.  If you have any comments, e-mail me to me at:  dfoster<at>kaibabjournal<dot>com.  Please put “Antarctica” in the subject category.

Return to Antarctica Home Page