Antarctica 3: Zodiac ride in Antarctic Sound Feb 2020

After a quick power nap, I had to layer up again for the zodiac cruise around the waters of Brown Bluff in the Antarctic Sound.  More than 90% of Antarctica is covered by ice with an average altitude of over 2,000 meters.  Antarctica is a super windy place and these winds affect the climate of the entire planet.  The weather changes without warning.  This morning it wasn’t all that cold when we arrived at Brown Bluff, however by afternoon, the skies were dark and gloomy and the temperature with windchill fell to -10ºC.  Brrrr!!!!  I am bundled up like a penguin waddling down to the wet room to change into my thermal rubber boots.  It is super hard to handle my cameras when wearing my thick insulated gloves.  I attempted to take one glove off when taking photos but it is way too cold and the exposed hand immediately becomes stiff and frozen.

DSCF2274On board the zodiac

DSCF5247What’s great about smaller cruise ships is that all passengers can do the landings as well as zodiac rides at the same time instead of taking turns.

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DSCF2291All bundled up for our zodiac rides.  Each zodiac usually takes 8-10 passengers.

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DSCF2302Whales frequent the waters around Brown Bluff

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DSCF2343The ice formed is the result of snow that is successively deposited on the surface and become more compact over time.  The older and more compact it is, the more it absorbs the red wavelengths and reflects the blue wavelengths making the iceberg look blue.

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DSCF5286Icebergs are the result of the fracturing of the continental ice tongues that reach the sea.  Only about 20-25% of the total volume of icebergs are above water.

DSCF2315Adelie penguins spotted on an iceberg

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DSCF2323The most common and smallest penguin species is the Adelie penguin. They have the black and white tuxedo look and have an angular head with a white rings around the eyes.  Other than emperor penguins, adelie penguins also only live on the Antarctic peninsula.

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DSCF5232Leopard seals are one of the penguins’ biggest predators.

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DSCF5253Saving some glacial ice for my happy hour whiskey

After an eventful day in Brown Bluff and the Antarctic Sound, we head west back to the western coast of the Antarctic Peninsula.  Stay tuned!

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