Antarctica #7 – Day 5 (last day) of excursions – February 2009

– February 18th – Last day of excursions Danco Island (morning excursion)

-This was our last land trip for Antarctica so we knew we had to make it count.  We started by climbing a steep incline of ice and then super deep powder snow, which was hard as I kept falling in.  It was worth it as along the climb, I found a recently hatched penguin egg, and was hopeful to see some baby chicks.

Antartica Day 5 _Penguin mom and baby Antartica Day 5 _Penguin Egg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Once I climbed further, that´s exactly what I saw.  Many, many penguin chicks all being protected by a parent.  It was really precious to just watch them for a long time!

Antartica Day 5 _Penguin Family with babies Antartica Day 5 _Penguin mom and babies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-I kept climbing and watching penguins and once at the top, it was quite a celebration for the whole week.

Antartica Day 5 _Penguins overlooking bay Antartica Day 5 _Penguin with boat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– Joey and I started jumping for joy, doing cart wheels and being silly.  I have to ask one question as I did my cart wheel and handstands … “If I´m upside down on my cart wheel and I´m at the bottom of the world, does that mean I´m on the top of the world now?”  Just something to think about.

Antartica Day 5 _Upside down Antartica Day 5 _Jumping for Joy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antartica Day 5 _Laying on top of glacier

Melchior Islands – Zodiac Cruise (Afternoon Excursion)

-Sadly we only had one excursion left and it was a zodiac cruise.  The main purpose was to spot whales as they tend to swim in this area.  This turned out to be the most outrageous and amazing part to the whole trip!

-The expedition leader, Jill, wanted to take one zodiac boat out, and she normally doesn´t go out on the rides.  She also wanted to take the younger girls, so she got 7 fun girls and one boyfriend in her boat…so we were happy with our fun boat for the two hours.

Early on, I asked her two questions:

1. Do the whales spy hop a lot (poke head about water to look around)

2. Do the whales breach? (jump out of the water and flop down)  She said it´s rare to see in the wild, but sometimes they do.  (keep these questions in mind as you read)

-We first spotted a mother and baby calf, about a year old.  It was fun to watch the mother surface and dive deep and then the little baby would follow too.

-The real highlight was the later humpback whale.  One boat found him, and we joined four other boats to watch him for an hour.  This whale was about two years old and was just playing with us.  It was close enough to our boat that we could touch him.

Antartica Day 5 _Whale Head Antartica Day 5 _Whale Belly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

– He kept spy hopping up at our boat, then swam to the next boat and would wave his pectoral fin, then go to the next boat and dive deep exposing his fluke.

Antartica Day 5 _Whale flipper Antartica Day 5 _Whale Spyhopping

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antartica Day 5_Spyhopping by boat Antartica Day 5_Skyhopping close

Antartica Day 5 _Whale fluke Antartica Day 5 _Whale Spinning fin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final fluke before we had to leave

Final fluke before we had to leave

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antartica Day 5 _Whale Fluke 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Antartica Day 5_Whale belly 2 Antartica Day 5_Whale Rolling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jill was speechless at this as it´s very unusual and she said she has never seen anything like this and has done over 70 trips before she was a leader.  I started to shoot video of this and all you can see if the whale under our boat, all of us on the boat yelling…”oh my god”  or “wow…wow…wow!”.  There were two times that we all thought the whale could flip our boat as he was directly under us with his head on one side and fluke on the other.  I thought…at least there are other boats to rescue us and the water would be cold, but so worth it!   See video link below.

-As it was time to leave, I joked to our boat that we should all turn back towards the whale and wave goodbye and thank him for playing with us.   Just as we were turning to wave, he came out of the water and breached with about 80% of  his body out of the water and then came flopping down.  It was spectacular and the perfect end to our trip.  Nothing will ever beat that experience!

-Funny as it was, both questions I asked, occurred for the first time on our trip during this hour.  We also found out from one of the marine biologist that the whale must have been trying to make friends and thought we were friends.  We all instantly become his friends! All in all, I LOVED Antarctica and can´t wait to go back on day and see more of it as there is still so much more.

Whale video….watch this with sound (first time on youtube..hope it works).  You may need to copy and paste this link into a new browser:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szP1cJcZMhU

Previous Penguin video that I just uploaded as well:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgWzqTcM-jw

Logistics

My boat was called Orlova and the expedition was through Quark Expeditions which does trips all over Antarctica, Arctic Circle and more.  I really liked the company and would recommend them for active people that want to get out and explore.

I found my trip via:

ExpeditionTrips – By Land and Sea (worked with Shelley)
6553 California Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98136-1863
877 412-8527 or  206 547-0700

http://www.ExpeditionTrips.com

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