Tossed. 3X. Had to happen sooner or later. Ted told us this is the worst crossing they’ve had from South Georgia to the Peninsula so at least I’m not a complete wimp re these seas. At first it was fun watching the spray blow all the way up to the 7th deck bridge, but all of those big ups and crashing downs finally got to me after I ate a cookie during a 75-minute talk in the basement (3rd deck). No windows, lots of motion. About 25% of passengers are missing from meals. When I stayed in bed last night instead of going to dinner, I was touched by how everyone takes care of each other on board. My roommate offered anti-nausea medication and candied ginger to me. She also brought back the next day’s schedule for me and filled me in on announcements. My best friend on board gave me his wrist relief bands and brought me bread from the dining room. Luckily the night went quickly and I slept off that round of illness. The seas appear to be getting progressively settled but I went out on the bow to experience the wind and spray again just to be sure. One of the staff members out there pointed out the krill on the deck – they must’ve come over with the spray last night – amazing! While on the bow, I spotted a fin whale (identified by the white baleen on the right side of its mouth, but not the left side interestingly). It’s pretty quiet today re wildlife but yesterday was a bonanza. Although I spotted the first and only whale of the day so far, yesterday was packed full with 143 whales! I saw about 20 of those whales between naps, talks, and meals.
One of the announcements yesterday is that we’re skipping the Orkneys and heading directly to Antarctica to beat some drifting ice that may box us out of a key landing. I spotted the westernmost Orkney Island, Inaccessible Island (how’s that for a name? Looked just like something out of Lord of the Rings except surrounded by ocean). Closer to us was a huge double iceberg. I saw pink staining on the snow and a closer look revealed lots of black dots. Chinstrap Penguins (about 60) and their guano (always a characteristic orange-pink due to the color of krill). We’ll be scrutinizing every iceberg for penguins in hope of seeing an Emperor Penguin. Emperors were the stars of March of the Penguins. Their chicks have fledged from their icy inland breeding area by now so any we see will just be lucky sightings. This is the only species where we can’t visit the breeding colony.
Today’s lunchtime announcement was about a 6.7 earthquake that just occurred not far from where we’re heading. Tsunami danger is essentially nil for us and they didn’t predict much of an impact on land either based on previous earthquakes in this area. We’ll be getting into some ice this evening or tomorrow and then the Zodiac cruises begin, along with landings to see Adele Penguin colonies, Leopard Seals, Weddell Seals, Crabeater Seals, and of course a bunch of whales including Minke, Humpback, Orca, Fin, and Southern Right Whales. I can hardly wait to get to coastal waters and the incredible abundance of wildlife along the Antarctic Peninsula.