Category: Antarctica

Antarctica – Aurora Expeditions – Day 16

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Today started in Paradise Bay with a shore landing at Almirante Brown Antarctic Base, an currently unoccupied Argentine research base. While on shore some of us hiked up the hill behind the base for a better look around. We then did a Zodiac cruise around the area.

Antarctica, Research Base

Unoccupied Argentina Research Base

Gentoo Penguins, Antarctica

Gentoo Penguins

Gentoo Penguins, Antarctica

Gentoo Penguin

Aatarctica, Hike

Hiking up to the top of the hill behind the base.

Skua, Antarctica


Antarctica, Zodiac, Iceberg

One of the Zodiacs passing by an iceberg.


Part of the Argentine research base.

Then it was back on board the Polar Pioneer for lunch and to head to our final location of the trip.

Time Lapse of the Polar Pioneer sailing through the pack ice

Our final stop was for a Zodic cruise around Melchior Islands.


Snow and Ice

Antarctica, Chinstrap Penguins

Chinstrap Penguins with the Polar Pioneer in the background.

Antarctica, Iceberg


Antarctica – Aurora Expeditions – Day 15

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Because the Polar Pioneer was so far south, it meant that sunrise was at 3:30 in the morning. I wasn’t able to get up for the sunrise, but I was on deck by 4:30 to shoot the Antarctic landscapes as our ship moved past.



Our first stop for the day was at Curerville Island. The plan was to do a short Zodiac cruise around some of the icebergs in the area and then do a landing at a Gentoo Penguin colony. The short Zodiac cruise was so interesting that it turned into a much longer cruise as Dave weaved our Zodiac through the icebergs. Then after the Zodiac ride we stopped for a couple of hours at the Gentoo Penguin colony.

Antarctica, Icebergs


Antarctica, Black Ice

Black Ice

Antarctica, Crabeater Seal

Crabeater Seal

Antarctica, Gentoo Penguin

Gentoo Penguin

The second stop for the day was Port Lockroy, a former British Antarctic research base that has been turned into a historical site and museum. Port Lockroy also has several Gentoo Penguin colonies in the area.

Port Lockroy, Antartica, Gentoo Penguins

Port Lockroy

Gentoo Penguin, Antarctica

Two Gentoos work on their sencronized wadling

Antarctica, Gentoo Penguin Colony

Gentoo Penguin Colony

Earlier in the voyage on South Georgia, several of the Aurora staff had freed a fur seal from at piece of netting that had been tangled around it’s neck. It took four guys, a boat paddle and a knife to get the job done. At Port Lockroy I got to do my part to free a tangled animal and risked life and limb to rescue a penguin who had tangled himself in some string. Ok, it might not have be as dangerous as helping the fur seal, but I could have been poked with his beak or given a vicious head slap from his stumpy little wings.

Gentoo Penguin, Antarctica

Little Gentoo is into bondage?

When I had told my friends that I was going to Antarctica, the first thing everyone wanted to know was if I was going there to ski. But no, I was going for the photography. When we were at Port Lockroy I looked up at the side of one of the mountains lining the bay and saw several people skiing down the mountain. Crap, I wish I had brought my skis.

Antarctica, Skiing, Skier

Skiers in Antarctica

After leaving Port Lockroy the Polar Pioneer headed for our final location of the day by sailing down the Lemaire Channel. As our ship sailed toward the end of the channel we could see that the way looked blocked by a large area of pack ice and I thought that the ship might have to turn around. But the Polar Pioneer with it’s ice strengthened hull was able to plow right through.

Or final location for the day, a Zodiac cruise around some massive icebergs at Pleneau Island.

Antarctica, Polar Pioneer

The Polar Pioneer looks tiny in the Antarctic landscape.

Antarctica, Zodiac, Iceberg

One of the other Zodiacs seen through a hole in an iceberg.

The day ended with a barbecue and party on the rear deck of the ship. Because of the long Antarctic day, it was still somewhat light outside at midnight with I headed in to go to bed. This turned out to be my busiest day for taking photos with 2136, which really was not that many compared to a couple of the other photographers.

Antarctica – Aurora Expeditions – Day 14

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After lunch the Polar Pioneer finally reaches our first stop in Antarctica, Deception Island. The island is circular, about 7.5 miles across and formed from a volcano caldera where a section of the caldera edge is below the ocean surface allowing ships to carefully sail through the narrow opening called Neptune’s Bellows and into the actual caldera. The caldera forms a large bay that provides shelter from the worst of the antarctic weather. In the past, the Island was home to whaling stations and research bases.

When we arrived at deception Island the weather was pretty nasty; strong wind, fog and wet blowing snow. But after over three days on the ship most people were ready to brave the elements and go ashore. We landed on a desolate black sand beach in Whalers Bay where the remains of an abandoned whaling station and research base were located. The base had been partially destroyed and buried by a mudflow in 1969. Once ashore, the weather was not super cold, but the sticky, wet blowing snow made things tough. The harsh weather along with the abandoned buildings, half buried rusting machinery and lack of vegetation gave everything an eerie post-apocalyptic feel.

Gentoo Penguin, Deception Island, Antarctica

Gentoo Penguin in the blowing snow.

Abandoned Buildings, Deception Island, Antarctica

Abandoned Buildings

Rusting Machinery, Deception Island, Antarctica

Rusting Machinery

Abandoned Building, Deception Island, Antarctica

Abandoned Building

Abandoned Airplane Hanger

Abandoned Airplane Hanger, Deception Island, Antarctica

Gerntoo Penguin

You can see in the photo that the snow was blowing almost horizontally

At Sea – Aurora Expeditions – Day 13

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The third day at sea after leaving South Georgia. I’m still trying to sort out the thousands of photos I have taken so far on this trip, but I did spend some time on deck shooting some photos of the sea birds.

Cape Petrel

Cape Petrels

Cape Petrel

Cape Petrel

During dinner, after almost three days at sea and 779 miles we pass Elephant Island, our first sighting of Antarctica. Just a barren, rugged rock and ice.

Southern Giant-Petrel passes in front of Elephant Island

Southern Giant-Petrel flying in front of Elephant Island

Argentina – Ushuaia

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I’m Ushuaia Argentina, the southern most city in the world. This is where I’ll board the Polar Pioneer for my 19 day cruise to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and finally Antarctica. I wanted to be extra cautious in case of flight delays, so I have almost two day in Ushuaia before the ship leaves.


The main street of Ushuaia


A group of us took a helicoptor tour around the Ushuaia area.

Ushuaia, Shipwreck

Shipwreck near Ushuaia with an icebreaker passing by in the background.

Ushuaia, Forrest Brown

It turns out the people are really short in Ushuaia