Antarctica 7: Port Charcot of Booth Island Feb 2020

After crossing the mesmerizing Lemaire Channel, it was time for our landing at Port Charcot in the northwestern part of Booth Island.  Jean-Baptiste Charcot and 18 team members wintered here in 1904 with his ship, Franais, anchored in this bay.  He built several structures for both science and accommodation on shore, as well as the cairn still visible at the top of the peak on the Western side of the bay.  There is a gentoo colony here and amazing views of beautiful icebergs.  This is the real Antarctica!

DSCF2564Magellan Explorer anchored in Port Charcot

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DSCF2554Iceberg Alley

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Helllloooo!  Anyone out there??

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Penguin footprints in the snow.  The reddish brown color underneath the snow is red algae

DSCF5847Courageous penguin checking out the napping fur seal.  Fur seals can rotate their back flippers and can move faster than us humans.  They are known to be vicious and they do eat penguins….

DSCF5844Napping fur seal

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DSCF2562In the far left is the rock cairn built by Jean-Baptiste Charcot

DSCF5840Heading up to the cairn for sweeping views of Port Charcot.  It is quite a tough climb up as the snow is very icy with algae and rocks underneath.  I fell multiple times navigating this hill.

DSCF2580Trudging through the snow to get up to the cairn

DSCF5817The rock cairn is comprised of a wooden column and a plaque inscribed with the names of the first French Antarctic expedition led by Jean-Baptiste E. A. Charcot.

DSCF2575The rock cairn is comprised of a wooden column and a plaque inscribed with the names of the first French Antarctic expedition led by Jean-Baptiste E. A. Charcot.

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Chinstrap penguin

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I wish we had more time to spend here at Port Charcot!  The 3 or so hours spent here felt rushed because there was quite a bit to see and the hike up to the cairn which was not supposed to be too difficult really tired me out.  I think it was the slipping and falling and the strong winds blowing rain and snow into my face that made it so tiring.  I returned to the ship with my pants covered in penguin guano and bruises on my knees and bum but it was well worth it.  You have to remember to scrub all your outer gear or else even a tiny bit of penguin poo can stink up the cabin like you are in a tuna canning factory!  From Port Charcot, we head north towards Paradise Bay.  Stay tuned!

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