Drake Passage and Day one in Antarctica

I’m going to be doing text updates for now until we start getting better satellite for the internet. Photos will be very challenging to load but we do have a lot to share.

We spent two days going through the Drake Passage which can be anywhere from really bad to rough. We were lucky and it was only rough. Previously, we had been in the 10-15 ft seas but they were mostly wind driven. The Drake Passage can have the wind, but has really big, in the 15+ ft range, rolling waves without the wind. We had great weather and had the latter, so great passage.

Yesterday we landed at Danco Island, Antarctica to spend time at a penguin colony. As most everyone would agree, penguins are really cute little guys. We got off the Zodiacs and on to the island and were met with 1,000’s of Gentoo Penguins (yes you have to learn the different species so you can talk about them). They had no fear of us and although we had a limit with how close we were supposed to get to them, they don’t always observe the limit so if you are still and taking pictures, they walk right past you with no cares. Their nesting area was on top of a ridge where they built nests made from stones and then they take turns going down to the water to feed and you see these skinny penguins coming down the hill and when they go back it looks like they just had Thanksgiving Dinner.

The weather was absolutely incredible with full sunshine and the temperature about 34 degrees. We were almost too warm with all our gear on and speaking of gear, put big parkas, rain pants and boots on a bunch of people and we looked a lot like the penguins walking around.

The cruise line was fantastic with some of the travelers with mobility challenges. They told everyone, if you can walk a couple of steps and step down we’ll get you ashore and they did. The expedition crew would walk people on to the island from the Zodiacs in the water and find a rock for them to sit on and enjoy the sites and it was really impressive.

After visiting the island, we cruised through the other islands around us sight seeing and saw many whales. All the time with a sunny sky and light winds, it was incredible. Silver Sea had another of their expedition ships in the area and we met up with them around 6:30 pm. Jane and I thought okay, a couple of big ships meeting up. Well it turned out to be a lot of fun. As Silver Cloud pulled up along side, the railing on their top deck was full and everyone one was waving and yelling back and forth. The Silver Cloud passengers even started doing the “wave” at one point. On top of that, many of the crew knew each other as well as the expedition team so they were all on deck yelling back and forth. We were within 50 yards of them which was really close given the size of the ships. After a time, most of us went on to dinner but the ships stayed together for over an hour as they took photos from boats and drones, read big marketing opportunity. So if in the future you see two ships in Antarctica in some advertisements, that was us.

Welcome to Antarctica
Penguin nesting area on Danco Island
And if you haven’t heard the Chiefs won the Super Bowl !!
Our first Hump Back Whale siting. Mom’s in front and calf is the smaller lump behind
We’re still not tired of watching them
Jane found a piece of ice to touch
The Silver Cloud pulling in beside us. The people along the top railing started doing t

he wave as they pulled in. Also on the bridge deck, you can see a little splash of orange. That’s a big hand the Silversea ships carry to wave at people and ships when they pull in. Our hand is yellow and they were waving at each other.
The scenery we are seeing as we cruise. There were whales in view almost the entire afternoon.

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